Dear Friends and Family of Meher Center,
As South Carolina, along with the rest of the United States and beyond, is experiencing the unrelenting spread of the Omicron variant, we have decided to close the Center for day visitors until the current level of contagion has clearly diminished. This closure will begin on Monday, January 17. However, the Center will remain open for a limited number of overnight guests.
The highly contagious nature of this variant, as chronicled in the news, has once again swelled numbers of the sick, hospitalized and dying, overwhelming many hospitals. It is now also the case that vaccinated people can easily contract the virus and pass it on to others. While the symptoms of Omicron appear to be less serious, the unvaccinated, elderly,
immunocompromised and young children are still at risk for serious illness and death.
As you know, the Center has never required that visitors be vaccinated, but if staying overnight, they must present a negative PCR test. Day visitors have not been required to present either vaccination status or test results. We have felt, and our experience has borne this out, that the other safety measures we have in place create a high level of protection against virus transmission; these include: no gatherings indoors, wearing masks when indoors, no visitors in communal kitchens except overnight guests who are assigned to them and asking visitors to keep a safe distance both indoors and out.
However, as Omicron is so highly transmittable, we feel it is now most prudent to continue to lower the risk of contagion for those on the Center, including staff. If a significant number of staff are infected at the same time, we will have to cease operations for an indeterminate period. We feel that the fairest and most pragmatic way to go forward is to take a temporary
pause with day visiting.
We know that this will be unwelcome and disappointing news for some, as His Center is a priceless touchstone to His presence, and a tangible reminder that He is available to each of us as our Truest innermost Self.
We pray that this will only be for a short period of time. Along with our commitment to making the Center available to those who wish to visit, we are committed to ensuring that the retreat is a safe place for those who do visit.
In Meher Baba’s love and service,
The Meher Center Board