COVID-19 and Noisebridge (Status: Noisebridge is closed)

Updated 4/28/2020

This thread will be continually updated to provide resources, and most importantly, discuss how COVID-19 interacts with Noisebridge. For reference, I have worked in global HIV for about a decade, including some experience (but not my primary focus) with population infection modelling, and my current work is all about vetting good / bad science and stats both in academia and in media/social media.

California is under a stay-at-home order, which current extends to at least the end of May (announced, but official announcement is not available yet). Noisebridge is closed !!
Stay at home order is available here.
UPDATE: A city ordinance now requires face coverings when accessing public transportation, shopping, etc, being enforced starting April 22.

Is Noisebridge exempted by being an "essential service / business
Our legal counsel has advised that this would be extremely unlikely to be classified as an essential service, and that violation of the order would have extreme consequences for Noisebridge. In the unlikely event that the city deems Noisebridge as an essential service, we would need to put in place a plan, as outlined by @fnord below.

Who should my primary source of information be on COVID-19 issues?
Ars Technica has been doing an AMAZING job at keeping on top of the latest on everything COVID-19 related. It is well-sourced, well-reported, comprehensive, and constantly updated. They are now my recommended go-to for general COVID-19 information.

CDC’s main landing page for everything is here

For more local SF updates, the Chronical has been doing a decent job so far. Live news updates here, map and case tracker here.

What should I, personally, do in general?
Minimize social contact, wash your hands with soap (regular old soap works even better than alcohol), and listen for updates from people who actually know what they are talking about.

DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE with chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, etc for either treatment or prevention.
There is effectively ZERO evidence that these are effective for COVID-19 (we will have much better information in a few weeks), and they have potentially deadly side-effects. There are also shortages of these drugs, which takes them away from people who need it. This is critical, life or death stuff.

What should I, personally, do to be excellent at Noisebridge?
Noisebridge is closed due to city orders. Access for critical reasons is a work in progress, but the best way to be excellent is to respect the closure.

When will COVID-19 blow over and we can go back to normal?
The best projections would suggest that we are in this for quite a while, in the realm of several months. This is a fast moving thing, and we don’t really know yet Chances are, though, that we’re in this for the long haul, so don’t expect that it will all just go away in a few weeks.

"Hey I found this Medium article that seem-"*
STOP. Who is the author? Does that person have any relevant credentials or experience in infectious disease epidemiology, public health, etc.? Please stick to well-vetted sources (which I will be updating above). Not sure? Send me a message in private, and I’ll help you vet it.

Quick guide to making things in a time of crisis:
Excited to see what y’all can do, but a few general guidelines and caveats that everyone should be aware of to make sure that we are helping. It’s really easy to accidentally do harm and take up space, even with the best of intentions right now. Sometimes the best thing is to do nothing and listen, and that’s ok too! But let’s see what you got!

Does the thing already exist?
Should you instead promote or support the already existing thing? Is what you are doing better, more sustainable, reach a different population, etc?

If the thing doesn’t exist, why doesn’t it exist?
It could be that there is a reason for it. Consider checking in with the people who will be impacted or are have relevant expertise in the area first.

Are you going to be able to support the thing for the next few months?
We’re in this for the long haul, so vapor-ware and lack of support are real concerns.

Where should I start?
One EXCELLENT way to go is to think hyper local. Usually, on a large scale there’s someone already handling things, but it doesn’t get all the way to everyone. Where are gaps that are around you? For example, this post is very specific for the Noisebridge community.

From @boredzo: Look/listen for existing needs. Like, right now, the SF-Marin Food Bank is crying out for warehouse volunteers. If you want to help this crisis, can spare the time, and can risk going out, that’s a great way to help mitigate it for a lot of people. (Plus, food banks always need money with which to buy goods. Consider setting up a monthly donation.)

There’s also been a steep drop-off in blood donations (many of which come from blood drives at workplaces, which are now shuttered). If you’re eligible to donate blood (and yes, some of the exclusion criteria are bullshit), that’s a great way to help with other medical needs that continue to exist amid this crisis


How dare you call the CDC unsexy! Don’t you love data


For my part, I’ve canceled the sewing machine training part 2 that was scheduled for next Monday. I’d already canceled the ones in April and May, for both COVID-19 and impending-move reasons. I expect to resume the trainings no earlier than June.

When trainings resume, they’ll be on Wednesdays instead of Mondays. My original motivation for that change was simply to reduce contention/noise in the space (for the last few months, there have been three or four things scheduled at the same time on Mondays); now this also brings curve-flattening benefits, reducing the exposure of everyone who’s in the space for each event.


Also, here’s how to wash your hands:

That comes from the WHO, which also has posters illustrating the process:

I have posted the posters (laminated on my own laminator) near each of our three sinks. Please refer to them as you wash your hands to ensure you do so thoroughly.

The WHO also has a (very similar) process for applying hand sanitizer, documented in a similar poster on the same webpage. Same basic idea: covering every part of your hands.


Lastly, don’t forget to clean surfaces. This includes your own laptop/keyboard/mouse, shared keyboards and mice (and other things such as hand tools and musical instruments) in the space, doorknobs, faucets, toilet handles/seats, switches, etc. You can take one disinfectant wipe and do a sweep of every doorknob and light-switch in the space.

We should do at least the doorknobs and light-switches once a day, per the CDC’s guidance (it might be worth adding to the closing-time checklist). I did it doocratically on ■■■■■■■■■■■ this past Monday.


Updated the above with some additional suggestions, particularly regarding events and cleaning things

In honor of our upcoming jump through hyperspace to find a new planet for Noisebridge, I have been calling COVID-19 “the Cylons”.

“We must wash our hands to make sure we don’t turn into Cylons.”

“He has to self-isolate; he is particularly susceptible to Cylons.”

“You can protect against the Cylons by practicing social distance.”

In all seriousness though, Julie McMurry MPH, an epidemiologist at Monarch (also my sister-in-law), has compiled this extremely excellent comprehensive resource for understanding COVID-19 and what we should all be doing about it. In her words:

Pandemics spread precisely where people have a false sense of security. Here’s Milan on a nice day last week.… #FlattenTheCurve we need everyone’s help; here’s how:

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The updated link to Julie’s document is .


Made a few edits, but general reminder: there is a ton of bullshit misinformation out there right now. I am keeping the above updated with the best of what we’ve got, but kindly (and ragefully) ask that you not spread bullshit articles.

Stick to well-vetted sources.


Minor update, removed the Stupid Shit bit (since no longer happening) and added an open question for whether we should close (spoiler: answer right now on 3-15 is I have no idea)

I do see people coughing and sneezing in the space(and not always covering their mouth, I realize it’s dusty, I sneeze too.)

I understand that we do need to get ahead of this in two ways:

  1. We become extremely clean and manage hygiene in the space.
  2. Limit number of classes and people in the space all at once?

CHM & covid-19
I’m going to be implementing mostly online tutorials & for the people who do show up for CHM I’m going to be asking them to get on a Chromebook/ laptop while I stream the content. This way I’m not going over to each person and possibly passing things around because of my interaction with each person.

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@Roboto All important steps, and good on you for getting the ball rolling.

Just updated the post w/ new CDC guidance.

I call people’s attention especially to the 8 weeks part. I know some folks are (maybe wishfully) expecting/planning for this to all blow over by the end of March or some point in April.

8 weeks means mid-May.

Anyone who’s stocking up on supplies, planning grocery orders, smoothing things over with their boss, working from home, etc. needs to plan accordingly.

This also has mindset and mental-health ramifications. Both the pandemic and social distancing are stressful and hard and isolating, and a lot of economic damage is going to be done by dramatically reduced business, so of course people are looking forward to it being over—but it will not be over soon. We need to prepare ourselves to keep doing this for the next 8 weeks.

Check in with friends. Schedule voice or video calls. Play D&D or something. Isolate our bodies but not our selves.

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Thanks, good point that should be on top. Updated to reflecft that

There’s a “shelter in place” from midnight to April 7. My guess is Noisebridge isn’t an essential business in this context…

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Editing post now to reflect new situation.

The order from DPH:

That’s for the City; five other counties (I know some folks live in the East Bay) and the city of Berkeley are under similar orders. Check your county for details.

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Post updated to trim out old info and add the “what you can do to help” section

This is not as strict as most believe!

As long as you stay 6 feet away from others, you are free to walk, hike, and run:

iii. To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.