A message from the Grand Master regarding the Covid-19 Pandemic
March 13, 2020
I am sure all the members of the Craft have been monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic as it evolves. As of this writing, there have been 23 reported cases in Alberta. With a population of 4.3 million people that is 0.0005% of the Alberta population have tested positive for the virus and all the cases are travel related. The number of people who have been specifically tested for the virus is 4,265; so, the % of people who thought they had the virus and tested positive is 0.54%. So, my first piece of advice to you is:
The Grand Lodge of Alberta is monitoring the situation closely and with a large percentage of our membership 60 years of age and greater, plus the related illnesses normally associated with age, there are areas which could be of concern. We do have many members who could be in the high risks categories as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Alberta Health Services (AHS).
AHS has implemented new public health restrictions which might affect some of our events. These restrictions affect social/ business events larger than 250 people. The Taste of the Orient, which is a social event put on each year by Eastgate Lodge has been canceled. Considering this restriction, Grand Lodge is looking at developing a “Plan B” for the Annual Communications, in case it extends into June.
Events with more than 50 attendees and expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations should also be cancelled.
There is also a travel advisory, which will affect the GM’s trip to the Philippines.
As most of our lodge meetings do not reach these thresholds, we can continue to meet if the Brethren are prudent and use discretion.
If you participate in a Lodge Meeting, we recommend the following:
- Do not use handshakes when greeting Brothers. A verbal greeting or an “elbow bump” can be used until the situation has gone back to normal.
- Members are expected to observe and practice safe hygiene, WASH YOUR HANDS PROPERLY (20 seconds with soap and water), use hand sanitizer when hand washing is impractical, bring your sanitizer with you to Lodge.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- To sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with your arm.
- If you feel unwell or have family members who are unwell with flu like symptoms self-isolate and STAY HOME.
- If you are in the high-risk group and your current health situation puts you at a heightened risk from exposure – STAY HOME.
- If you are returning from a trip abroad on business or pleasure from anywhere outside Alberta self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date of your return.
- Do not rely on white gloves as a measure to prevent contamination. They are not effective for the task.
- Put some distance between yourself and your brother.
The risk of attending lodge will vary depending on your age, health, and the number of people attending. With proper precaution’s, we can still have an enjoyable and interesting meeting. Therefore, the decision to attend lodge is up to your own good Judgement.
For more details on the situation in Alberta, please visit:
https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx This announcement is subject to further revisions as the situation changes. Grand Lodge will monitor developments daily.
MW Bro. Ken Cheel