It is perhaps timely to ask all our members, should they be feeling unwell and think that they are suffering from something that someone else might catch, to consider very carefully whether they should be attending any Masonic meetings until they are better. This is very much for the benefit of all our members, as well as that of the individual concerned.
Although the risk level for the Covid-19 coronavirus has been raised to ‘moderate’, the likelihood is that the virus will spread further. The current government advice is to go about your business as usual, but sensible precautions must be taken.
The general advice is to maintain a high level of personal hygiene, including thorough washing of hands and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers; especially before eating. Use disposable tissues and, once used, dispose of them hygienically and then immediately wash your hands. In particular, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
If you have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature you should take the precaution of self-isolating for seven days.
However, because the main age demographic of our members is in a significantly higher risk group, Grand Lodge has issued the following urgent guidance above and beyond that issued by Public Health England:
- The United Grand Lodge of England strongly advises that those over the age of 65 years old, and those with hypertension, heart disease, lung disease or diabetes no longer attend Lodge and Chapter meetings for the foreseeable future.
- The United Grand Lodge of England strongly advises that meetings of over 100 members should not take place. Advice on abandoning meetings has been previously circulated.
- We draw attention to the fragile state of some Masonic Halls and their financial reliance on income from meetings. We encourage Lodges to consider their Halls’ ongoing viability when cancelling meetings and advise, where possible, that arrangements are made to support their halls through the difficult times ahead in exchange for some future agreement to recoup any such support when the situation resolves.
For your information, at Freemasons’ Hall in London, in addition to hand washing on entry for all staff and visitors, the following steps will now be implemented:
- All United Grand Lodge of England staff (who are able to) will be working from home until further notice.
- Freemasons’ Hall will be closed to external visitors, tourists and tours will cease.
- Non-masonic business meetings will be virtual where possible.”
We have also taken the decision to cancel all official visits to Hertfordshire Lodges by members of the Provincial Executive until further notice, from Friday, 20 March. A number of visits to Lodges next week (commencing Monday, 16 March) have already been cancelled.
We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation very closely and issue supplementary guidance as and when the need arises.
Brethren, please do everything that you can to keep yourselves and others safe and healthy.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
Provincial Grand Master
To read the full guidance note from Grand Lodge, please click below: