Announcement from the The Grand Master / Most Excellent 1st Grand Principal His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent.
All Craft and Royal Arch meetings are
suspended for FOUR Months
The information below was sent BEFORE the ABOVE instruction from the Grand Master above.
As we are sure you are aware, the next steps in the Government's approach to the Coronavirus outbreak were announced yesterday. (14/3/20) The Prime Minister, alongside the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer, disclosed that the United Kingdom was moving out of the ‘Containment’ phase and into the ‘Delay’ phase. The aim of this phase is to push the peak of the outbreak into the summer, so as to give as much time as possible for further research into the virus and to ensure that the NHS is as prepared as it can be.
As set out in recent communications on this issue, UGLE are content to give advice beyond that issued by Public Health England in relation to this virus due to the demographic of our
membership and the high risk posed by it to a number of our more elderly members.
After consultation with the Rulers and Senior members of the Board, we have therefore agreed to strengthen our guidance as follows:
- 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.
Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5AZ
www.ugle.org.uk @UGLE_GrandLodge UnitedGrandLodgeofEngland
We will review this advice as the situation worsens. Finally, we would ask that you check on
the more elderly and vulnerable members of your Lodges and Chapters, especially those
that live alone, remembering that telephoning is probably safest for them rather than
visiting in person.
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Dr David Staples FRCP
CEO and Grand Secretary
CORONAVIRUS – MEMBER UPDATE FROM UGLE, MMH and SC 14/3/20
A joint statement from the Grand Secretary / Grand Scribe E
Grand Secretary at Mark Masons’ Hall
Grand Secretary General of the Ancient and Accepted Rite
As the Coronavirus continues to escalate, we are issuing the following urgent guidance above and beyond that issued by Public Health England. This is due to the main age demographic of our membership being in a significantly higher risk group. This advice equally applies to members of the Orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall and members of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes COVID-19 more severely affects older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes).
Based on the WHO’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced strengthened legal powers to protect public health, and on the 2 March outlined the UK’s national response to the virus.
Whilst each unit may decide for itself what precautions it may wish to take, we strongly suggest you follow this advice:
- • If you or a family member are showing signs of illness, please do not attend your Lodge or Chapter meetings and follow the guidance below.
- • We recommend that members consider refraining from any physical contact within the ceremonies, before or after meetings. Given the tactile nature of many ceremonies, if you or candidates are concerned about how they can take place with little or no physical contact while maintaining their meaning and impact, you may even wish to consider postponing the ceremony until the situation has improved.
- • Minimise mass shared transport (i.e. coaches) to meetings.
- • Wash hands thoroughly before and after meetings for 20 seconds with hot water.
- • This advice stands whether you do or do not wear gloves during your ceremonies.
Any member who feels unwell should follow the advice from Public Health England. If a member is known to have been infected with Covid-19, then it is standard policy for Public Health to contact all those with whom he has been in contact. Full co-operation is expected to ensure the risk to other unit members – and members of the public – is minimised. We recommend the Secretary maintains physical possession of the attendance book to assist in this process.
If you are worried about a fellow member please keep in contact with them via the phone and text to keep an eye on their wellbeing.