Coronavirus Updates
April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

As we continue to have online meetings and other communications with the worldwide Clubhouse community, we gather additional innovative and creative strategies that Clubhouses are implementing to meet the evolving needs of members during this time.

  • Click here to see Issue #3 of our Tips & Strategies for Clubhouses
  • Click here to see many new ideas added to our Virtual Communities page!

GOOD NEWS FROM THIS WEEK:We are spending more time talking to each other and as a result we are deepening our relationships.”

  • Clubhouses in many states/countries are successfully working together to ensure continued funding for Clubhouses through this crisis.
  • One Clubhouse reported that their new staff are really seeing what it means that the Clubhouse community can support members in a powerful, direct and immediate way. This experience is helping staff and members more fully understand the depth and meaning of Clubhouse relationships.
  • A Clubhouse member said that she never understood how life-giving her connection with her Clubhouse community was until this crisis, and that it is the Clubhouse community that is now helping her to maintain her sense of security and hope as this crisis unfolds.
  • Clubhouses are finding that some members who have not been coming to the Clubhouse for long periods of time, are reconnecting through this current effort. Some have said that they will return to the Clubhouse when the crisis is over.
  • The COVID-19 crisis has inspired creativity and innovation in Clubhouse communities, and reignited their sense of the importance of community.
  • Clubhouses are finding that they are invigorated and inspired and finding new ways to express the deepest values of our Standards.

Thank you to Clubhouses in the following states/countries that joined our regional update calls last week, and shared your strategies and tips: Canada, Pennsylvania, Florida, Genesis Club, (Massachusetts), North Carolina, AIM Center (Tennessee), B’More Clubhouse, Maryland, Gateway (Ohio), Oklahoma, Nebraska, Australia, Wyoming, Colorado, Norway, Hawaii

March 31, 2020.

FIND THEM HERE! New Strategies for Forming a Virtual Clubhouse!

PLEASE CLICK HERE to find a compilation of suggestions for implementing a Virtual Clubhouse, gathered from many Clubhouses, coalitions, and our Training Bases. As it looks as if this situation may continue for some time, we will continue to update you with new strategies as we move ahead into this unknown terrain of this ‘new normal.’

Click Here to View this Important Message to the Clubhouse Community

March 15, 2020. Clubhouse International, Clubhouse Europe and Fountain House are coordinating efforts to monitor the status of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak so we can share vital information with our community and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months. We understand that this epidemic strikes directly at the heart of our model that is built on social connection, but we must make difficult decisions quickly, as the choices we make in the next week will have a significant impact on the speed and scale of spread of this virus, especially within our tightly knit and more vulnerable Clubhouse communities.

Social distancing is critical for curbing the pandemic. Most importantly, that means Clubhouses around the world must prepare action plans for decreasing on-site programming, and possibly closing their physical locations to reduce the risk of transmission for members and the broader community.

The time to act is NOW. We do not want Clubhouses to be in a position where they are FORCED to close by their governments without a plan to remain connected and provide essential services to their members.

What is the potential impact on members from COVID-19? Many if not most of our community members are at elevated risk of more severe symptoms and of complications from COVID-19 infection. That includes those over 60; members with chronic physical illnesses such as respiratory disease, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases, and active smokers are also at higher risk of developing more severe illness and complications. For everyone, the coronavirus epidemic and related coverage can increase anxiety and stress, and so focusing on wellbeing is important, including physical activity, healthy eating, and sleep.

What has been the impact on Clubhouses? Global confirmed cases of COVID-19 now approach 150,000. The impact on Clubhouse programs that we know about, in China, South Korea and Italy have been significant – resulting in Clubhouse closures and reduced services that impact more than thousands of Clubhouse members.

What must Clubhouses do? Clubhouses around the world are being asked to work with members and staff to devise action plans and communications to mitigate the risks that possible disruption of services can lead to.

Considerations that must be taken in all decision-making should include impacts on:

  • Highest risk members
    • Age >60 and/or
    • Chronic respiratory illness (asthma, COPD, etc.)
    • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease, heart failure, history of stroke)
    • Diabetes
    • Kidney disease
    • Immune deficiency (autoimmune conditions, HIV, cancer)
  • Access to basic needs, such as food and hygiene supplies for members
  • Access to technology to ensure that members adequately stay connected without a physical gathering space
  • Communications – how are members going to find out about changes to services and potential closures? (e.g., email, social media, phone trees, home visits, etc.)
  • Mobile outreach – making sure to have precise physical addresses for all members. (e.g. not just P.O. boxes, streets or apartment complexes)
  • Staffing – what will happen if essential staff become sick or are required to quarantine?

What are some practical examples of what Clubhouses are doing to communicate and reduce risk? As an example, Fountain House has done the following:

  • Created a COVID-19 Task Force of members and staff that connects multiple times a week.
  • Created phased draw-down plan to reduce physical attendance at the Clubhouse and to increase 1:1 outreach and digital tools for connection; action plan created for Clubhouse closure and switch to virtual services
  • Ensured that staff and peers doing 1:1 home visits, especially to high-risk members, have access to masks and gloves (PPE – personal protective equipment), maintain meal delivery (meals on wheels) and medication delivery and support.
  • Disseminated communications to members and staff in a structured, weekly format (printed sheets following standard format, weekly meetings).
  • Asked high-risk members to avoid attending the Clubhouse in-person, and have provided additional supports to remain connected, such as increased phone calls and digital outreach.
  • Implemented daily sanitization schedule in line with WHO and CDC
  • Provided internal guidance for social practitioners to proactively screen members in units and throughout the Clubhouse to make sure they are staying healthy.
  • Expanded PROACTIVE reach out calls and coordinated basic supplies (including food and hygiene items, if necessary) for members so they can self-quarantine safely and effectively.
  • Required non-social practitioner staff to work from home or limit time in the clubhouse.
  • Developed necessary protocols and action plans if residences need to be quarantined.
  • Stopped all official Fountain House travel out of state, and have asked staff to limit personal travel.
  • Engaged digital tech solutions to create a temporary virtual unit. “Virtual Fountain House” (Facebook, Slack, conference calls, etc.)

We are here to help and are a resource to the Clubhouse community. We will plan to share messages weekly. We have also created a help desk where you can reach out with any direct questions or support you might need for your Clubhouse response to COVID-19, including resources such as weekly message templates. Please contact us at We stand ready to help as much as possible.


Ashwin Vasan, M.D., PhD, President and CEO, Fountain House, Assistant Professor, Mailman School of Public Health and Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia Universit

Joel D. Corcoran, M.Ed, Executive Director, Clubhouse International

Wander ReitsmaChair, Clubhouse Europe

More About COVID-19

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Typically, it can be 5-6 days after exposure before symptoms appear, and illness usually lasts 2-3 weeks. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Unless it is a true emergency, please CALL your local health provider first, before presenting, as we predict our global healthcare systems will be under enormous strain during this pandemic.

How can I reduce the risk of exposure or transmission?

  • Social distancing: reduce the number of contacts you have with people outside of your family. Keep a minimum 6 foot distance from people when interacting
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, cloth or sleeve when sneezing or coughing — do not use your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on all sides, or use an alcohol-based (minimum 70% alcohol) hand sanitizer if hand washing is unavailable.
  • Do not touch your face or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Do not share food, drink or eating utensils with others
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces, such as phones, computers, bathrooms and doorknobs.
  • If you are a smoker, stop using or limit cigarettes and vaping.
  • Stay home if you do not feel well, especially if you have a fever (>100.4F) or active cough, and seek medical care
  • Keep healthy! Eat well, get sleep, minimize alcohol or substance intake, and exercise. Running and swimming are safe, but avoid crowded gym locker rooms

For the most up-to-date resources, information and guidance on the coronavirus epidemic, please consult the WHO website at:

Click here to view and download “Clubhouses and Coronavirus: Tips and Strategies

March 14, 2020. As a worldwide network of Clubhouse communities, we depend on one another for support and advice. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to evolve in most of our countries, Clubhouse International has been gathering strategies that Clubhouses and others have identified as helpful to face this challenge.

As a reminder: we are postponing scheduled accreditation visits and meetings in March and April, 2020.

We have organized below some information here that we hope will be helpful. While we are certainly not experts, we do offer these ideas for your consideration. Please use your best judgement and monitor the advice from the most reliable government and official local health authorities.

We are especially grateful to Phoenix Clubhouse, Hong Kong SAR, PRC; Hope Clubhouse, People’s Republic of China; Dandelion Clubhouse, People’s Republic of China; Potential Place, Alberta, Canada; and HERO House NW, Washington, USA; B’More Clubhouse, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Fountain House, New York, New York, USA for sharing their Clubhouse’s strategies.


For the most up-to-date resources, information and guidance on the coronavirus epidemic, we recommend that you consult the following resources. There is a lot of information here that you can use to educate your community and inform your decisions during this time.


Some Clubhouses are posting signs and/or sending other communications to staff and members. Here is an example:

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we need your help to keep our Clubhouse as safe as possible. The greatest risk is from close contact with other people who have coronavirus. If you feel unwell with any cold or flu-like systems (coughing, fever, etc.) please stay at home to help yourself recover and protect others.

While you are at home:

  • Please be in frequent contact with us at the Clubhouse. We care about you and want to know how you are doing and how we might help. Call us, email us, text us, connect on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat or other social media.
  • Maintain a healthy routine of eating well, exercise, and sleep.
  • Engage in activities that you enjoy.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Avoid spending too much time monitoring news about the virus if you find it upsetting.
  • Continue any healthcare plans you have in place. 
  • Continue to practice good hygiene and prevention (e.g. social distancing, hand washing, regularly clean surfaces, and follow good food preparation practices, etc.).

When you come in to the Clubhouse

  • Please make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Use our wet wipes to wipe the desks, keyboards, tables etc. that you use.
  • Help us to keep door handles and all commonly used objects and spaces clean.
  • Try your best to not touch your face (eyes, mouth, nose), as this is the way a virus can be transferred from an infected surface to your body.
  • Catch any coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away immediately, and wash/disinfect your hands.
  • If you do not have a tissue ready, make sure you cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid hand shaking. Some people are substituting tapping each other’s ankles, or simply using a small bow, as a greeting. Keep a safe distance where possible.
  • Help other members be mindful about all the above. 

If you have returned from coronavirus affected areas abroad, or think you might have been in contact with someone that has it, please check government websites for advice, or call to speak with Clubhouse staff. We hope we can all work together to limit the spread and keep our community informed. Take care! 


The Academy at Glengary, Florida, USA, produced a PowerPoint presentation for use at Clubhouse meetings, to educate and inform the Clubhouse community. Please feel free to use these slides and customize them for your own Clubhouse use. Click here to open the presentation.


If your Clubhouse operations are limited or suspended temporarily, the following are some examples of Clubhouse’s efforts to maintain contact with members.

Hope Clubhouse, People’s Republic of China, used WeChat and daily telephone calls to all members. The Clubhouse also prepared videos regarding epidemic prevention, health eating suggestions, online English classes, information about exercise, and general recovery principles. These videos were regularly shared throughout the Clubhouse community, to help maintain a sense of connection and community.

Dandelion Clubhouse, People’s Republic of China, also did a great deal of online support. This included:

  • In WeChat, we share recipes for delicious food. Members review recipes with each other and do the cooking in each person’s home, and then communicate online.
  • We have a WeChat public account. We provide scientific articles about the epidemic on this account that our whole Clubhouse community can access. This helps educate us about the epidemic and how best to protect ourselves.
  • We have developed an online support team, where we share our opinions about the coronavirus and express our emotions. 
  • In all, we are together, and there is no difficulty we can’t handle.
  • And also, we are together with you, the international Clubhouse community!

B’More Clubhouse, Baltimore, Maryland, offers these ideas:

  • Have two regularly scheduled Clubhouse-wide meetings each day, via conference call, in the morning and afternoon when regular house or unit meetings generally occur. Provide a dial-in number that can be accessed by the whole community.
  • Staff will reach out to members on a regular basis, via phone and in-person visits. Staff will ensure that members basic community support needs are being met, even when the Clubhouse is temporarily closed.

Other reach out suggestions include:

  • Create a virtual newsletter, with members and staff submitting articles, that is distributed to the whole community on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Develop a shopping trip schedule, so all members can have access to rides to stores to buy food and other supplies.
  • Create some social program activities that can be done online. These might include:
  • Host discussion groups.
  • Have an online exercise group on a daily basis.
  • Watch a movie or television show together, over people’s phones or computers.


HERO House NW, Washington, USA developed a comprehensive preparedness plan that might of help to Clubhouses as you create your own plan. HERO HOUSE NW CONTINGENCY PLAN

Potential Place Clubhouse, Canada developed a comprehensive preparedness plan that might of help to Clubhouses as you create your own plan. POTENTIAL PLACE RESPONSE PLAN


All of the Clubhouses that have shared their plans with us agree that whatever decisions they are making in their communities, the most important messages are:

  • Decisions are being made from a place of care and concern 
  • The Clubhouse will continue to be diligent in staying apprised of developing information and will adjust accordingly. 
  • The Clubhouse (whether opened or closed) will remain connected to members throughout this challenge.

We encourage Clubhouses to also remain connected to the larger network of Clubhouses in your region, coalition, and/or country.

March 12, 2020: As we all continue to learn more about this fast evolving situation regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and make the necessary adjustments in our work and daily life, we want to be in touch with you again. At Clubhouse International we continue to monitor the advice and direction from expert healthcare, scientific and government organizations and we are making necessary adjustments to our activity and operations. At this point, we are postponing scheduled accreditation visits and meetings in March and April. In the coming weeks we may extend these postponements and other planned trainings, meetings and travel plans. We will be in touch with those Clubhouses and individuals involved as we adjust our plans.

In the meantime, we ask that you consider delaying making travel arrangements for Clubhouse International related activities and events as long as possible. This may help avoid unnecessary expenses and complications. Please contact us if you have specific questions or concerns.

We would also like to share this article from our partners at Fountain House in New York. Fountain House is the largest Clubhouse in the world. They have some unique challenges compared to other Clubhouses. However, they also have more people with experience and expertise in both public health and Clubhouse management and culture. Therefore, Fountain House and Clubhouse International together thought it might be useful to share a recent communication Fountain House provided to its community. It has clear and specific information and guidance that you may find useful for your Clubhouse. We are grateful to Fountain House for making this available.

We also encourage you to stay in touch with us and let us know if you have any strategies or communication materials that may be helpful to others in the Clubhouse International community.

Best wishes for health and safety to all.

March 6, 2013: In response to the continuing spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we have been carefully monitoring reports from both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While we are aware that the immediate risk of the virus is relatively low for the general public, we have been in touch with many Clubhouses on an individual basis and wanted to forward the information below to all member Clubhouses.

CDC has issued ongoing guidance regarding the virus, and related to avoiding non-essential travel to certain areas, states and countries. It is Clubhouse International’s hope that our training and accreditation work will not be affected, but we will continue to monitor this developing situation to assess whether any action may become necessary. To date, we have not yet had to cancel any scheduled accreditation visits.

Please feel free to contact us directly with any specific questions or issues you or your Clubhouse might have in this regard.

Translate »