Meetings, Precautions, and COVID-19
Brethren, due the current health conditions in our state, the nation, and the world it is imperative we take precautions to prevent the spread of disease, particularly this new strain of COVID-19. Please read the Grand Master's message concerning recent health events and their impact on Freemasonry and Masonic meetings.
Please read the Medical Committee's recommendations on common sense measures to guard your health, and Grand Master's Message concerning COVID-19 (below):
P. Shaun Bradshaw
As you may be aware, on March 10, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper initiated the State’s coronavirus COVID-19 preparedness plan and declared a state of emergency for NC. As part of that plan several recommendations were made, some of which could impact the ability of our lodges to meet and conduct business on a regular basis. Further, I have personally received several inquiries about the Grand Lodge’s plan to address and limit the potential spread of COVID-19, particularly considering the vast majority of our members tend to be in a high-risk population.
As noted in the State’s recommendations the NC DHHS recommends “that organizers of mass gathering events that primarily draw high-risk persons, including those that attract older adults, should consider cancelling or postponing these events.” While our CODE does not permit a lodge to “cancel” a stated communication (Reg. 45-2) it is permissible for a lodge to not meet due to a lack of quorum (Reg. 45-8) without requiring a dispensation from the Grand Master. Further, while Reg. 45-14 states that the Grand Master “should arrest the charter of a lodge which has had no meeting for six consecutive months” I will not penalize any lodge that chooses not to meet or could not meet due to lack of a quorum during this time.
With this in mind, I strongly urge the Masters of the subordinate lodges of the Grand Lodge of NC to consider what is best for their members and their communities in helping limit the spread of COVID-19. Lodge leaders should begin contacting their members now to:
Let them know that the lodge cannot meet without a quorum present and as such, are encouraged not to come to lodge.
Check in on them and confirm how they are doing and see if there is anything they may need. For example, some of our elderly brethren may prefer not to get out to go grocery shopping, etc. and this is a perfect opportunity for our lodge brethren to assist each other.
If a lodge does choose to meet or continue forward with a planned fundraising or social event during this time, I strongly urge the brethren to implement “social distancing” practices such as not shaking hands and limiting physical contact with each other.
Finally, I would like to call your attention to four more points of interest:
I am currently evaluating the possibility of cancelling or postponing the remainder of the Grand Master’s District Meetings until such time as the declared State of Emergency has been lifted by the Governor of NC. Information regarding this decision should be finalized by 03/19/2020.
I have asked the newly formed IT Committee to immediately begin researching, identifying and proposing technology solutions that will allow the Grand Lodge of NC to stand up a “virtual lodge” as quickly as possible.
I am working closely with members of the Grand Line and various other committees to prepare for potential issues in holding our Annual Communication in September to understand what procedures and technologies may be implemented that could help minimize social contact during that event, if the declared State of Emergency is still in effect.
I am issuing a blanket dispensation for any lodge wishing to open their doors to the community for the purposes of organizing and facilitating volunteer, health care, and related services to their communities.
Brethren, as Most Worshipful Brother Lew Ledford reminded me, there is an old adage, “in chaos lies opportunities.” I hope our lodges will be engaged as leaders in their communities and be willing to provide facilities and volunteer support to them if the need arises.
If you have any questions or concerns about any information presented here, please do not hesitate to contact me directly or contact our Grand Lodge office.
Sincerely & Fraternally,