After giving it much thought, we have decided to keep Vivekananda Retreat closed for the rest of the season. If something changes we will let you know. Even though the states in the NE, including NY, have managed to control the Covid-19 virus, there are still localized outbreaks of the virus that make re-opening too much of a risk for our staff (most of us are in the high risk category) and our visitors. We do miss your visits. We miss our monthly retreat programs. Although the staff is keeping very busy with many projects , it is not the same and, like everyone else, we are waiting and waiting for circumstances to change.
As I have mentioned before, I am following the lead of the other local religious/spiritual centers who have visitor accommodations similar to ours. They have all remained closed to visitors. When staff and visitors share the same living space, when giving tours means opening our own living space to visitors, it presents too much of a risk.
I will say that we have been able to provide some service during the pandemic. We have welcomed our neighbors and other local Stone Ridge residents to take walks on our property throughout the pandemic. There have been more people walking on our Shrine Trail than ever before. Everyone understands that they are required to follow the NY mask and social distancing requirements and that there is no entry to any of the houses. We also have been able to send whatever surplus produce we have in our organic vegetable garden to the local food bank. Since we are not cooking any large meals, we have been able to donate much more than we keep for ourselves.
We really do look forward to the day when we can resume our normal schedule. We look forward to welcoming our visitors and friends back to the retreat. When that will be is still unknown.