An emergency meeting of Lincolnshire’s Provincial Executive was held early this morning. As a result of that meeting a statement was prepared in response to the latest position on the Coronavirus situation. It reads as follows:
With immediate effect the Province of Lincolnshire will fully comply with the advice given by the United Grand Lodge of England (copy below). In effect this means postponement of all Provincial events for a period up to the 1st June 2020, including Provincial Grand Lodge and Provincial Grand Chapter meetings. All Lodges and Chapters must consider their meetings in light of the advice given, and the expectation is that advice will be complied with.
Whilst it is appreciated this will cause significant difficulties to all meetings the overarching priority is the health and wellbeing of our members. Lodges and Lodge centres should where possible try to support those who provide catering and maintain relationships built over years. However, if Lodge Centres face severe financial issues, the Province may consider providing assistance on a case by case basis.
With immediate effect the Provincial Office will be closed to visitors, and will provide a limited service otherwise in order to comply with UGLE advice.
It is appreciated that the current situation will cause considerable concern, but it is an unprecedented situation calling for an unprecedented response.
Further updates will be issued in due course. Whilst the Province is looking forward to an improvement, it may be necessary to extend the period of postponements as the situation develops.
Provincial events which will be postponed are as follows:
• Provincial Executive Committee Meeting – 16th March 2020
• Craft Team Visit – Shire Lodge – 20th March 2020
• Provincial Dinner – Hemswell – 3rd April 2020
• Craft Team Visit Eccles Lodge (Installation) – 14th April 2020
• Craft Team Visit St. Pega – 28th April 2020
• Craft Team Visit – Olive Union – 7th May 2020
• Provincial Grand Lodge/Provincial Grand Chapter – 13th May 2020
• Free Wheelers Lodge Consecration – 16th May 2020
• Concert in the Castle – 30th May 2020
• Connaught Court Garden Party – 6th June 2020
Yours sincerely and fraternally
Provincial Grand Master
Most Excellent Grand Superintendent
United Grand Lodge Letter
As we are sure you are aware, the next steps in the Government’s approach to the Coronavirus outbreak were announced yesterday. 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.
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