Guidelines to opening meetings

Dear Friends in the Fellowship,

We know that many members are excited by the prospect of meeting in-person again-and, as such, there may be a temptation to rush to re-open meetings. San Mateo County Fellowship has put together suggestions and guidelines for your groups to consider when making an informed group conscience about when and how to re-open safely .

In addition to suggestions for groups to consider, there are also ‘musts’ that groups need to abide by to stay within the regulations and mandates of our state. While there are no ‘musts’ in the A.A. program, there are legal musts in the larger community. Fortunately, our program of recovery has taught us how to be responsible citizens both in A.A. and the world.

To protect A.A., groups should be mindful of our Traditions. Tradition 1 tells us “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.” With regard to making group decisions, “Each group is autonomous.” However, the second part of Tradition 4 is just as important: “except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.” These traditions remind us that we must ensure that our group decisions do not negatively impact our fellow members or A.A. as a whole, and that we as individuals act in ways that ensure our common welfare. Traditions 1 and 4 are important now more than ever. We have to consider the health and well-being of other A.A. members, and we need to protect the positive reputation and goodwill of A.A. in the community
A.A. must abide by the mandates of local jurisdictions where our groups meet. As an organization and as individuals, we are not exempt from the law.

Here is a list of things that should be considered before deciding to resume in-person meetings:

• Groups must have permission from their churches and facilities to resume meeting on the premises—either inside or on the grounds or parking lot.
• Groups should be aware of the state and county restrictions and guidelines churches and facilities have in place, as well as each facility’s individual requirements!

What Changes/What You Need to Know
As of Tuesday, June 15 2021 there are no longer capacity or distancing requirements for most businesses or public settings.

Fully vaccinated people can stop wearing face coverings outdoors and indoors – with the following exceptions:

► On public transit (buses, ride-shares, taxis, airplanes, trains, ferries)
► Indoors in K-12 schools, child care and other youth settings
► Health care settings and long-term care facilities
► Correctional facilities and detention centers
►  Homeless shelters, emergency shelters, cooling centers

Businesses, public agencies and other organizations may still require face coverings, for both employees and members of the public.


  1. Many groups have talked about the possibility of combining in-person meetings with Zoom meetings to form a “hybrid” meeting. If your group is leaning toward this option, here are some considerations:
    1. Is everyone at the in-person meeting comfortable participating in a video Zoom meeting?
    2. Would it be better to disable the video capability but allow the phone function?

Also, Please let Central Office know of all the changes that your group makes! Our email is and the phone number is 650.577.1310.

Finally, our sincere thanks to all of you who forward this message to your A.A. friends and home group members in the fellowship. We look forward to seeing you one of these days soon, and we wish everyone continued sobriety and good health. 

San Mateo County Central Office