To all Constituent Lodges and DDGM’s
August Covid-19 Update
Brethren, as expected Covid-19 continues to remain an issue for our Craft but we are making progress in adapting to how we must do business. Rural lodges are finding more success in adapting to the requirements but again this was foreseen. We will outline some additional steps which we hope will clarify some issues we expect the membership to be facing in the weeks ahead. Please read carefully as once again this is a long and detailed message.
Re: Restricted Attendance
As many Lodges hold meetings in facilities that are owned by third parties, attendance may possibly be capped to meet the strictest requirements of the AHS Regulations for social distancing. As such the senior officers of the affected Lodges must prepare an action plan to limit attendance to meetings. This plan may restrict your meetings to members only and further yet may not allow for full participation in your deliberations by your own members.
For DDGM’s planning official visits, recognize that limitations on attendance may preclude an official party being received with the full honors traditionally extended to the GL Officers on visits. Consider travelling alone to maximize the opportunity for lodge members to attend at your visit.
Re: Web Based Meetings for Regular Lodge Business
After much deliberation and following recommendations and the example set by the Board of General Purposes, we will approve Lodges to use Web Based Meetings for the duration of the Covid-19 Pandemic. These permissions are temporary and are issued so as to allow Lodges to complete necessary business that has been put on hold as they are unable to meet in person. These permissions may be revoked at any time in the future and as such Lodges wishing to exercise this option should check for updates from their DDGM or the Grand Lodge Office. The recommendations noted below are based on the successful use of Web Based Platforms to effect business of the BGP and various Committees of this Grand Lodge.
Web Based Meetings for Regular Lodge Business – no permissions will be granted for business that would typically come before a Tyled Lodge, no Ritual work of any manner will be permitted. Balloting on candidates will not be permitted.
a. All web based meetings for conducting Lodge Business must follow the practices of a
regularly scheduled Lodge meeting as per Regulations published in the C&R.
- Seven (7) days clear notice is given to members which will include an agenda and summary of the process for conducting the meeting,
- The specified start time for business is adhered to; lead time must be planned for to facilitate logging into the session,
- Attendance of members and visitors is recorded and becomes part of the Lodge Records,
- A moderator or manager must be appointed to control those being admitted to the session,
- The process for conducting the meeting is reviewed so all understand the process. It is suggested that most microphones be muted to limit background noise and chatter,
- The agenda is approved and adopted, minutes are recorded by the Lodge Secretary on all business and retained as part of the official lodge records.
- Voting on regular business is permitted; if by show of hands begin with those opposed. If business is deemed special or of a critical nature voting should be by a ‘roll call’ where each member’s name is called and they answer as being for or against the motion.
After a limited trial period enacted due to Covid-19, an evaluation will be conducted by a future committee to ascertain the effectiveness of the use of Web Based Meetings. Recommendations will then be brought forward to the Board of General Purposes to determine the future use of Web based technology for meetings.
Re: Degrees and Installations
As noted in the July 10th Covid-19 Update, permission to hold both Entered Apprentice and Master Mason Degree work was reinstated. Several Lodges have successfully completed these degrees and have found effective ways to keep all individuals safe – this takes some planning but is possible. Please review the July 10, 2020 update for specific details.
Re: Relocation for Lodge Meetings
Under the Regulations Part II.3.F the locations where each Lodge may hold its meetings are restricted and require the authorization of the DDGM or Grand Master for dispensation. In that some facilities have elected to not allow Lodges to return at this time and have not given sufficient notice to arrange alternate plans I will grand authority to the DDGMs to effect change of venue. Each Lodge must seek dispensation from the DDGM and this approval will be communicated to the Grand Secretary for record.