You have already received our previous messages with advice from Public Health England, and UGLE, please do take these messages seriously and follow their advice.
Yesterday you will have received additional guidance from the United Grand Lodge of England which strongly recommends that anyone over the age of 65 or those with hypertension, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes does not attend Lodge or Chapter meetings for the foreseeable future. They recommended that meetings of more than 100 members should not take place.
Whilst it is ultimately the decision of individual members and their lodges, taking this into account and after careful consideration by the Provincial Executive, I am issuing the following recommendation to mitigate the risk to our members:
With effect from Monday 16th March all lodge meetings planned prior to Tuesday 14th April (after Easter Monday) should not go ahead in the normal manner. They should either be summoned to transact minimal masonic business (opened, minutes agreed and closed) with a simple quorum of five to satisfy the needs of Rule 137 of the Book of Constitutions or abandoned if a quorum is not present. To further mitigate the risk, the holding of Festive Boards and LOIs is discouraged.
We recommend that all masonic social events planned during the above time should also be abandoned.
All Official representatives, Acting Officers and Visiting Officers must NOT attend Lodges in their official capacity during this time. This is to minimise the risk of transmitting infection up and down the Province.
The Provincial Executive will continue to monitor the situation and review it prior to the end of this period and advise accordingly. We will keep you advised as further information becomes available. It is hoped that by taking these steps now, we can keep all of our members and their families safe and be able to resume activities at the earliest possible time.
We would additionally ask that you keep in touch with members of your Lodge by telephone or other means where no risk is involved. Please keep your Lodge Almoner fully informed if you or your family require any assistance particularly those members who live on their own and feel it necessary to quarantine themselves. It is vital that we stay in touch to ensure that everyone is safe and well. If you hear of a Brother who is not responding to messages, it may be because they need help and appropriate action should be taken. If you feel unwell, you should seriously consider self-isolating.
We are experiencing unprecedented times and I hope that this situation will resolve itself sooner and for the better. In the meantime, I would like to encourage you all to look after yourselves and your families, and act in a way to prioritise your health and wellbeing.
Yours sincerely and fraternally
RW Bro. John Clark, Provincial Grand Master