EBMC Community Wellness Commitments

Updated – December 2023

As part of our commitment to the health and safety of all individuals who participate at East Bay Meditation Center, the staff are sharing our latest commitments to keep our community safe and healthy.

These practices are designed to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who enters our center.

In shaping these guidelines, we have weighed the diverse needs of our community alongside our current capacity and available resources.

In consideration for the health of our community we ask that: 

  • community members practice self-assessing their health and stay at home if they have a fever or other symptoms of COVID within the last 2 weeks. 
  • in-person attendees refrain from wearing scented products while visiting the center to keep the space accessible to those with chemical sensitivities or allergies.

While we do not check vaccine history as part of our registration process, we strongly recommend that our community members educate themselves and follow the CDC recommendation around vaccinations

The maximum capacity in our temple hall at this time is capped at 40 attendees. We will have waitlists available for those who register after our events reach capacity. We will continue to monitor health safety recommendations and adapt our recommendations based on state guidelines and our own risk assessment.

Safety Measures in Place: As a commitment to harm-reduction, we will be uplifting the following safety guidelines:

    1. KN95/KF94/Equivalent Masks: High-quality masks, provided by the center in various sizes and colors, are required and should be worn by all individuals while inside the center. This policy aims to provide maximum protection for our community. Please note: blue surgical masks and cloth masks do not provide enough protection and should not be used.
    2. Air Filtration: The main temple is equipped with five HEPA filters to ensure the circulation of fresh and filtered air. These filters will be turned on during any event, including in the preparation time.
    3. Ventilation: During tea breaks and meals, the kitchen door will be closed to minimize airflow between the kitchen and common areas. Simultaneously, the back door will remain open to facilitate the entry of fresh outdoor air. Additionally, we have an Aranet4 carbon dioxide monitor to help us gauge ventilation in the main temple.
    4. Hand Sanitization: Hand sanitizers are placed throughout the center and available to be used by all visitors.
    5. Hygiene Awareness: Clear hand washing instructions are posted in our all-gender bathrooms.
    6. Teacher Guidelines: When using a microphone, our instructors are given the option to teach with or without masks. Attendees who have requests for the teachers to be masked, please share in the access needs in class registration. Requests will be shared with teachers, who will decide if they are able to honor them. There are teachers who cannot speak for extended time while masked for accessibility and health reasons. We encourage teachers to self-test for Covid the day of teaching and let participants know they tested negative. Potential attendees who may be concerned about teachers potentially not masking during class are encouraged to join the hybrid/virtual option. 
    7. Room Layout: Cushions and chairs are usually set in rows in front of the altar, where the teacher(s) will sit. Sangha members are welcome to move cushions and chairs if they need more space/distance, and as long as the new position is not disturbing any other sangha members.
  • Eating and Drinking: The kitchen is available for nourishing (eating and drinking). We ask that the door gets closed when that is happening in consideration of members’ health. The back door should be opened for additional ventilation when outdoor air quality permits.

In Case of Covid Exposure: If a participant, teacher, volunteer, or staff member tests positive during or within 5 days after being at the center, they should notify the Event Manager or lead volunteer as soon as possible. The Event Manager or lead volunteer will then notify the Program Director (Kristal Ip, kristal@eastbaymeditation.org) and send an “exposure notification” email to everyone who was in attendance as soon as possible. We recommend that everyone who was at the center get tested for Covid, start masking, and communicate about the possible exposure to anyone with whom they shared physical space or contact since the exposure. Detailed guidelines for exposure can be found here

Your Suggestions Matter: We value your suggestions on how we can enhance accessibility within our center. Please feel free to share your thoughts by emailing us at admin@eastbaymeditation.org. Your insights help us continually improve our policies and practices.

Your Choice, Your Comfort: Your well-being matters most. While we encourage you to participate in our in-person events, we understand that circumstances may vary. Therefore, we’re dedicated to providing high-quality hybrid and internet connections for most events, ensuring that you can engage with us from the comfort of your home.

At EBMC, your safety and comfort are at the forefront of our efforts. Thank you for being an integral part of our community, and for joining us in upholding these guidelines. Together, we can create an environment where mindfulness, learning, and connection thrive.

Should you have any additional questions, please contact admin@eastbaymeditationcenter.org 

JUNE 2023
If you are planning to attend an EBMC program in person, please read the information below, dated October 12, 2022 and September 7, 2022, as the information posted on those dates is still in effect:
  • To enter EBMC in person, you are asked to wear a properly-fitted N95 or KN95 mask. EBMC is happy to supply you with a mask if you do not have one with you upon arrival at the meditation center (285 17th Street, Oakland, CA 94612). 
  • We ask that all participants joining us in-person be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including booster shots. If your vaccination was recent, please ensure that at least two weeks have passed prior to joining us at EBMC. 
  • EBMC recognizes that individual Sangha members may not be vaccinated due to religious, medical, and disability exceptions and/or temporary deferral due to pregnancy or recent COVID-19 diagnosis or treatment.
  • If you have any questions about EBMC, we welcome them. Please click HERE for our center directory.

OCTOBER 12, 2022

Vaccination requirement update

Given new COVID variants and the release of the bivalent booster in September, EBMC has updated the vaccination requirement of our COVID policy:

We ask that all participants joining us in person be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including recommended boosters. Beginning November 7, 2022, people will need to have had a bivalent booster to participate in person. If your vaccination was recent, please ensure that at least two weeks have passed prior to joining us at EBMC.

Please note that if you cannot get the bivalent booster right now because they’ve recently had COVID or other boosters, then we are inviting you to attend online until two weeks after your booster.

EBMC recognizes that individual Sangha members may not be vaccinated due to religious, medical, and disability exceptions and/or temporary deferral due to pregnancy or recent COVID-19 diagnosis or treatment.

Below are the rest of our safety protocols which are still active.

When we commit to justice movement building and mindfulness, this means that we commit to self-care as collective care, and we also dedicate ourselves to supporting the health of our communities. This is not achieved through policing. It comes about through building relationships of trust that express themselves in our saying to one another, “I’ve got your back. Your health and your family’s health and the health of the people with whom you come in physical contact with are important to me.”

[For your information: In March 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a nationwide Test to Treat initiative, which aims to help some people quickly access lifesaving treatments for COVID-19 at little to no cost. The Test to Treat initiative is available at thousands of locations nationwide, including pharmacy-based clinics, federally-funded health centers, long-term care facilities, and community-based sites. In May 2022, the program was expanded to include federally-supported Test to Treat sites, which reach vulnerable communities. Test to Treat partners include some of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains. For information on a Test to Treat site near you, click HERE.] 


COVID Safety Protocol

  • We ask that all participants joining us in-person be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including booster shots. If your vaccination was recent, please ensure that at least two weeks have passed prior to joining us at EBMC. 
  • We are requiring the proper wearing of N95 or KN95 masks. We are happy to supply you with a mask if you do not have one. 
  • Please leave any cloth masks, neck gaiters, bandanas, and any masks with a valve at home. These are not acceptable for use at EBMC.
  • Teachers and facilitators holding space are offered the option to not wear a mask when speaking into a microphone. This is to allow for speach reading, better sound quality and supportive for those with limited breath capacity. 
  • To allow room for social distancing, we are limiting capacity to 40 attendees. 
  • We want everyone to be as comfortable as possible. We have various seating arrangements including traditional zafus and zabutons (meditation cushions), backjacks, regular folding chairs and a limited supply of zero gravity chairs.

Air Filtration

  • All Main Temple windows will be open when possible.
  • HEPA air filters will be running at all times during programming (three air filters in main temple, one in kitchen, one in compassion room, one in library)
  • Individuals that self identify as immunocompromised, elder, chronically ill or disabled will get priority seating near our windows and air filters.

East Bay Meditation Center Spaces

  • Our kitchen is currently not available for hosting potlucks or gatherings at this time. Please be mindful of others when utilizing our kitchen. 
  • Our Library & Compassion Room are limited to small groups of 4 if needed for breakout discussions because of low air filtration (windows can’t be opened). They will also be available for people who need to stretch or have a quiet space for disability access needs (overstimulation) and where people can eat a snack and beverage if they need to do so for health reasons.


  • There will be an onsite staff member available to help with audio equipment and hybrid tech. 
  • There will be an onsite staff member for check-in, and to support the participants and teacher. 
  • There will be a staff member managing the Zoom.  

Classes and Workshops

Classes and workshops that require registration will continue online. If you are registered for a class or workshop, you will receive a Zoom link and instructions via email.

Dana for Teachers and EBMC

As we come together in community in the virtual realm, we ask you to give as generously as you are able to our teachers in gratitude for their offerings and to EBMC to support our Sangha. Now more than ever we need the grounding of our practice and the support of our extended community, no matter where we are physically located. May the teachings of the Dharma and our wise effort to practice together tonight be a blessing to all beings.

We will share separate payment links for our teachers and the Center during each Practice Group or Class/Workshop.

Teachers’ PayPal or Venmo links will be given so that dana to our teachers can be offered.

To make a donation to EBMC, please click here. (This information will also be shared at each Zoom meeting.)

When you make your donation to EBMC, please indicate in the “Event/Program Designation” box at the bottom of the donate page which class/practice group you are attending. We thank you for your generosity!

Practicing Connecting through Loving Kindness, Mindfulness, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity

The Buddha taught that everything is subject to change. Our EBMC Sangha will go through this stressful period together, and at some point our center’s doors will once again be open to all.

We appreciate your spiritual practice of patience, understanding, compassion, joy, loving kindness and equanimity. Most of all, we appreciate your practice of mindful awareness during this time. Please take a moment as you read this to take a few breaths, and gaze at or bring to mind something that you find beautiful and refreshing: new leaves on a tree, a friend’s smile, a treasured photo on your home altar or in your smartphone’s photo gallery. And then, if you’d like to do so, reach out to at least one other person. Tell them something you appreciate about them; call or email or Zoom visit with them. Some members of our Sangha “meet” informally and regularly, morning and evening, by phone, for 5 minutes, to meditate and share spiritual texts and blessings. Ask your friend if they would like to do this with you.

Through simple and available practices of connecting with ourselves and with others in healing ways, we co-create the world in which we want to live. Let’s use this time to find creative ways to accompany one another until, as the teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, “The long path turns to joy.” We can do this.

COVID Update – Archives

DECEMBER 6, 2021

JULY 20, 2020

On March 12, 2020, East Bay Meditation Center announced the online transition of all of our Practice Groups, Classes, Workshops, Deep Refuge Groups, Movement Classes and Retreats. Since then staff, practice group coordinators, teachers and Leadership Sangha (the EBMC board of directors) have put in many hours of trial and error to adjust to the new virtual formats for our programming. We bow deeply to our volunteers and the entire Sangha for patient practice, love, and support.

Although highly aware that online programming is not accessible to all for many reasons, including technology investments and Zoom fatigue, we have also been happy to hear that virtual gatherings have opened up space for some who could not otherwise come to the center. This includes people outside the Bay Area, some families with small children, and folks for whom EBMC is not physically accessible, including those with chronic illness and those who are immune compromised.

In May, members of EBMC staff and Leadership Sangha formed a group (our “Safety Squad”) to proactively plan for when we might start using our physical space again. We are balancing the recognition that many people are acutely missing being in physical community together with our core values of radical inclusivity and being accessible for all of our sangha regardless of health vulnerability.

Spiritual friendship and community are foundational to EBMC. We understand, and share, the need to be together in person in our beloved temple space, and we are also holding space for the needs for safety for our many Sangha members who are high risk when it comes to COVID-19, due to age and/or various health conditions. Given that Radical Inclusivity and Social Justice and Healing are two of the five elements that make up EBMC’s Strategic Plan, and with the understanding that access is experienced as an act of love for our entire community, the Safety Squad is mindful of the Dharma teachings on universal loving kindness (mettā): Wishing: In gladness and in safety, may all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; whether they are weak or strong, omitting none.

Given these guiding values, we do not envision reopening our physical space before Spring 2021, at the earliest. Our decisions going forward will continue to be based on public health advisories and information, and availability of vaccines and treatment. We will also continue to re-imagine our programming with the focus on inclusion and engagement of our entire Sangha.

To give a gift to EBMC, please do so via our Website: https://eastbaymeditation.org/dana or via Paypal: paypal.me/eastbaymeditation 


MARCH 12, 2020

As many of you know, circumstances are changing quickly regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation in the Bay Area.

To ensure our community’s health and well-being, EBMC is temporarily moving all of our Practice Groups, Classes, Workshops, Deep Refuge Groups, Movement Classes and Retreats to ONLINE ONLY, effective Wednesday, March 11th.

Zoom Links for Practice Groups

We are working with Practice Group Leaders to ensure that the safety and community of our groups is respected as we roll out online links for each of our EBMC practice groups. Our website will have the most up-to-date Zoom links.