This Just in: BCL’s Updated Health & Safety Guidelines for the Fully Vaccinated
We are implementing the following updates to our health and safety guidelines:
- A mask is not required if you are fully vaccinated.
- You must provide proof of vaccination. Email a picture of your vaccination card or a screenshot of your Excelsior Pass to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You are “fully vaccinated” 14 days after your second shot.
- We will continue to sanitize phone booths and first floor meeting rooms between uses.
- Small flex desks and lounge seating will remain spaced apart for now.
Rationale for BCL’s Updated Health & Safety Guidelines for the Fully Vaccinated
Published: May 18, 2021
At BCL, we have always allowed science to lead our health and safety policies. Ventilation, social distancing, sanitizing, masking, density—all of it. But it’s important to keep in mind that science was the fulcrum upon which we weighed two often-competing (but not necessarily opposing) priorities: keeping everyone safe and healthy; and allowing us to fully live our lives and conduct our business.
A year ago, the calculus was easy: With the virus spreading unchecked, closing up shop and staying locked down was the only viable option. But lockdowns and social distancing came at a terrible price—declining mental health, social isolation, depression, and so on.
But now, a year later, the risk-reward equation has changed dramatically. In New York City, 48.5% of the total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. And all the other health indicators look great as well. The city’s 7-day average positivity rate has plummeted from 7.57% to 1.54%. New hospitalizations have dropped from 327 per day to 44 per day. And deaths have fallen from 84 per day to 22 per day. Vaccines also reduce the chances of serious complications from 2 in 100 to 1 in 100,000.
Simply put, it’s time to ditch the masks and get back to living our lives.
Most of this newfound freedom is the direct result of having access to safe, and wildy effective vaccines. Vaccines are over 90% effective in preventing infections and transmission among people who are fully vaccinated. That means that, if you are fully vaccinated, you are at dramatically lower risk of transmitting the virus to people who are unvaccinated—a group that includes the immunocompromised and children under 12 who are not yet approved for the vaccines. Bottom line: If you are fully vaccinated, your risk of acquiring and subsequently transmitting the virus to a non-vaccinated person is extremely low. Not zero, but very low—and dropping as infection rates go down and vaccination rates go up.
But what about variants? We share the concern about variants breaking through the vaccination firewall. That is a legitimate concern. If that breakthrough does occur, we will revisit our health and safety guidelines. But, so far, the vaccines are proving to be just as effective against variants as they are against older strains. That efficacy, combined with lower infection rates means that, until we have data saying otherwise, we’re safe and free to live our lives.
And then there is human nature. After the long, awful year we all just lived through, it is no surprise at all that people are wary of ditching their masks. We’ve been in the habit of wearing masks for over a year, and habits take a long time to break. Likewise, humans tend to overestimate the danger of novel risks, and underestimate familiar risks. That’s why people often mistakenly believe that air travel is riskier than driving. But human psychology being what it is, there’s not much anyone can do to persuade the risk-averse to feel differently. It’ll simply take some time, and that’s something that seems to be in abundant supply these days. So relax. Get vaccinated. And take your time adjusting to the new normal. We’ll be ready when you are.
– Team BCL
Thank you so much for your understanding, cooperation, and continued support!