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Ilwaco Masonic Lodge No. 48 F&A.M.

Occident Lodge  No. 48 Ilwaco Washington

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 March 26, 2021


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TO ALL CONSTITUENT LODGES DIRECTIVE:

Concerning Lodge Stated and Special Communications And Other Meetings

To all Lodges,


 Currently, all parts of Washington have been moved to Phase 3 of Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery effective March 22, 2021. In-person Lodge meetings are now permissible under the statewide guidelines, provided that all the requirements described herein are strictly followed. ANY LODGE THAT HOLDS A MEETING CONTRARY TO THE REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED BY THIS DIRECTIVE IS SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINE INCLUDING THE IMMEDIATE ARREST OF ITS CHARTER.

Therefore, pursuant to WMC Section 3.01(K) Const., effective May 1, 2021, all Lodges will resume Stated Communications. My Directive of June 13, 2020 cancelling all Lodge meetings is hereby withdrawn effective April 30, 2021. Lodges will resume in-person meetings as provided in the attached “Requirements for In-Person Communications of Lodges.”

All the requirements outlined in the attached “Requirements for In-Person Communications of Lodges” MUST BE STRICTLY FOLLOWED. EVERY LODGE MUST APPOINT A COVID-19 PROGRAM SUPERVISOR TO ENSURE THAT ALL SAFETY PROTOCOLS ARE FOLLOWED AND THAT ALL MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING PRACTICES ARE ENFORCED AND ADHERED TO BY ALL ATTENDEES.

If a Lodge’s Executive Committee, after consulting with the Lodge membership, determines that it is not prudent or advisable for the Lodge to hold in-person communications, then the Lodge shall hold its Stated Communications on a virtual platform. That platform must allow members to either join via an electronic device or landline telephone. The virtual Stated Communications will be conducted consistent with the attached “Procedures for Virtual Lodge Communications”. Any Lodge deciding to meet virtually shall provide all its members a new written notice that its Stated Communications will be virtual and include instructions on how to join the Communication. This notice shall also be provided to the Deputy of the Grand Master for the Lodge’s District. Any prior permission issued to a Lodge allowing it not to hold Stated Communications is hereby withdrawn as of April 30, 2021.

This directive does not modify previous instructions concerning the April Stated Communications. April Lodge Stated Communications will be virtual as directed by my letter dated February 11, 2021.

Please be aware that this continues to be a fluid situation. If a Lodge meets in a region or county that is returned to a Phase 1 status of Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery, then that Lodge will not be allowed to hold in-person Stated or Special Communications and must hold Stated Communications virtually. If the guidelines become more restrictive, I will determine if Lodges can continue to meet in-person.

The following links are to official sites with further information about Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery and COVID-19:

Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery, https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/HealthyWashington.pdf

Coronavirus State of Washington, https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

Washington Department of Health, https://doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Guidance for Business Reopening, https://www.governor.wa.gov/issues/issues/covid-19- resources/covid-19-reopening-guidance-businesses-and[1]workers?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

National Institute for Health, https://www.nih.gov/

 

Remember the Past, Visualize the Future,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requirements for In-Person Communications of Lodges

Please read these requirements carefully. Failure to comply with the requirements set forth below could be considered a Masonic Offense and may subject both the officers and the Lodge to Masonic Discipline.

Which Lodges Can Hold In-Person Stated Communications?

Any Lodge that has permission from the building owner to meet and meets in a Region or County that is in Phase 2 or higher of Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery.

When and Where Will In-Person Communications be Held?

Each Lodge will meet at the place and time specified in its By-laws. If the location specified in the Lodge By-laws is unavailable, the Worshipful Master or Secretary may request permission from the Grand Master to move the Charter. Such request must specify the reasons the regular location is unavailable. See WMC 13.07 B (1) B.L.

What Must Be Done To Ensure the Building is Safe?

The Lodge meeting place shall comply with all the requirements specified in Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery for miscellaneous venues. https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19 Misc Venue Guidance.pdf

To confirm that the meeting place satisfies these requirements, the Lodge shall:

a. Contact the building management to determine and evaluate the building’s cleaning protocols. If the building where the Lodge meets has not been used for an extended period of time, the Lodge should consult with building management to ensure that safeguards have been taken to make sure that the building is safe to occupy. See, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html; https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/office-buildings.html; https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/technical%20resources/covid-19/guidance-for-re[1]opening-buildings.pdf

b. Establish protocols to ensure that the Lodge building is disinfected both before and after the meeting and ensure that cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are readily available in all areas of the building.

c. All touch points including, but not limited to, all chairs, podiums, desks, sign-in desk and pen, Lodge Regalia, Bible, Square and Compasses, candles, gavels, flagpoles, door handles and knockers, bathrooms and other commonly touched areas shall be disinfected both prior to and after the meeting. This includes loaner aprons which must be laundered before and after every meeting.

d. The Lodge must appoint at least one (1) COVID-19 Program Supervisor who will be present at each meeting and will ensure that all meeting safety protocols are followed, social distancing is practiced, and face masks are worn.

Is Notice Required?

Prior to the first in-person Stated Communication, the members of the Lodge must be notified that the Stated Communication will be held in-person. The notice will be issued at least twenty (20) days prior to the first in-person Stated Communication. THIS NOTICE MUST INCLUDE THE INFORMATION ON WHO MAY ATTEND LODGE MEETINGS IN-PERSON (See below). Notice may be sent electronically or by regular mail.

Who May Attend an In-Person Lodge Stated or Special Communication?

a. Each Brother must make his own determination whether it is advisable for him to attend Lodge in person.

b. The maximum number of persons at a Lodge meeting shall be NO MORE THAN 50% of the authorized capacity of the Lodge or 25% in locations that are in Phase 2.

c. Only members of the Lodge, the Deputy of the Grand Master for the Lodge’s District, and the elected Grand Lodge Officers will be allowed to attend. If the three principal Officers are unable to attend, the Grand Master may appoint a Special Deputy to open the Lodge at the request of the Master or Secretary and he will be allowed to attend in-person. No other visitors will be allowed to attend.

d. A Brother will not be allowed to attend in-person if, within the last fourteen (14) days:

i. He has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19 or has had or is currently experiencing any known symptom of COVID-19; or

ii. He has been in close contact with (meaning within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) or having direct contact with fluids from any person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is suspected to have COVID-19 or has had or is currently experiencing any known symptom of COVID-19.

e. The known symptoms of COVID-19 are the following that are not caused by another condition:

i. Fever or chills;

ii. Fatigue;

iii. Cough;

iv. Muscle or body aches;

v. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;

vi. New or unexplained loss of taste or smell;

vii. Sore throat;

viii. Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea;

ix. Headache; or

x. Congestion or runny nose.

f. If a Brother or any member of his household has traveled outside of the United States in the last fourteen (14) days, then he may not attend in-person.

g. Every Brother attending in-person shall self-certify that none of the conditions or symptoms outlined in paragraphs d, e or f of this section, exist. This will be done by displaying at the entrance of the building and next to the Tyler’s Register the poster found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/COVID19-symptoms.pdf. No Brother shall enter the Lodge building or attend in-person meetings if he cannot self[1]certify that the conditions or symptoms outlined above do not exist.

Are Meals, Beverages or Refreshments Allowed?

No, meals, beverages or refreshments shall not be served.

What Will Be Allowed During the In-Person Communication?

a. Lodges will be allowed to engage in all business activities (except the conferral of Degrees) that were permitted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

b. Modifications to the ritual that are necessary to comply with Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery are required. This includes no collection of the pass, no escorting Brothers and requiring all Brothers to maintain separation of at least six feet from each other at all times.

Can a Lodge Confer Degrees?

No. Lodges shall not confer degrees.

May a Lodge Allow Virtual Participation in an In-Person Stated Communication?

a. After Lodge is opened, the virtual platform may be opened and members will be allowed to attend the meeting virtually.

b. After the completion of Lodge business, the virtual platform will be completely closed. c. Then the Lodge will be closed in ritualistic form (off-line after the virtual platform has been closed).

d. The Tyler’s register shall identify each Brother present in person and separately identify each Brother attending virtually.

What Business May Be Conducted During the Virtual Portion of an In-Person Stated Communication?

 a. Education;

b. Granting charitable relief;

c. Reporting on activities approved by the Executive Committee during the time in-person meetings have been prohibited;

d. Creation of Lodge committees including audit;

e. Waiver of a Brother’s dues and/or assessments;

f. Issuing dimits;

g. Consideration and approval of Lodge By-Law and Standing Rule changes;

h. Any part of the Standard Work that is in plain text (not in cipher); and

i. All other business normally conducted that is not specifically disallowed by the Washington Masonic Code or the Grand Master’s directive.

What Activities are Prohibited During a Virtual Portion of an In-person Stated Communication?

a. Balloting on petitions for the Degrees;

b. Balloting on petitions for Affiliation or Plural Membership;

c. Recitation of the Posting Lecture or other portions of the Standard Work as proof of proficiency at a virtual Stated Communication. If a Lodge allows it, a Committee of Brothers may individually meet with the Candidate, following all governmental pandemic restrictions in order to test the Candidate’s proficiency and the Lodge may accept the Committee’s report at the next Stated Communication; and

d. Any other esoteric (portions of the Standard Work that are ciphered) work.

Note: If the Lodge allows a virtual portion of an in-person Stated Communication, the virtual feed shall be closed before any of the above activities are started.

What Must Lodges Do When Holding In-Person Meetings?

a. All requirements for business meetings imposed by Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery must be strictly complied with including, but not limited to (See, https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/COVID19 Misc Venue Guidance.pdf ):

i. Maintain social distancing (six feet of separation) and physical contact is to be avoided;

ii. If there is physical contact such as handshakes, hand sanitizer must be used;

iii. Everyone who enters the building must immediately either wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or apply hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer shall be readily available to all participants attending in-person;

iv. Wearing facial coverings over your nose and mouth at all times. Facial coverings must be made available by the Lodge;

v. All attendees must cover their coughs and sneezes; and

vi. All attendees shall avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

b. The Tyler’s register shall identify each Brother present in-person and virtually if allowed.

c. The Lodge should supply enough pens that each person will have their own pen to use when signing in. These pens should be sanitized before and after every meeting.

d. Each meeting room shall be sanitized/cleaned before and after every meeting.

e. It shall be noted in the Lodge minutes for each meeting that each of the above requirements were performed.

What About Masonic Funerals?

a. Masonic Funerals may be conducted at the request of the family.

b. The limitations on the number of attendees, specified above is waived if allowed by Safe Start Washington. However, all guidelines issued by Healthy Washington, Roadmap to Recovery and local health authorities must be satisfied.

c. Brothers must make their own decision whether it is advisable for him to attend in person.

Procedures for Lodges That Elect Not to Hold In-Person Communications

Each Lodge electing not to hold in-person Stated Communications must hold Stated Communications virtually. Lodges are declared open in Ample form on the third degree. ESOTERIC WORK (portions of the Standard Work that are ciphered) SHALL NOT BE PERFORMED DURING A VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION.

If Fellowcrafts or Entered Apprentices wish to attend, the Worshipful Master may say “I declare this Lodge at Labor on the _________ degree.”

What Procedures will be Followed by Each Lodge NOT HOLDING IN-PERSON Stated Communications?

a. Stated Communications will be held at the date and time specified in the Lodge By-Laws.

b. All Lodges electing not to hold in-person communications shall hold their Stated Communications over the virtual platform of their choice.

c. Prior to the May Stated Communication, all members of the Lodge, as well as the Deputy of the Grand Master for the Lodge’s District, must be notified that the Stated Communication will be held over the virtual platform and include all necessary instructions for joining the meeting and how instructions will be communicated for future Stated Communications. The notice will be issued at least twenty (20) days prior to the May Stated Communication.

d. The Lodge shall take steps to assure that only Masons are in attendance.

e. The Lodge Secretary shall take steps to assure that the names of all Brothers in attendance are recorded in the Tyler’s Register.

What Activities are Prohibited During a Virtual Stated Communication?

a. Balloting on petitions for the Degrees;

b. Balloting on petitions for Affiliation or Plural Membership;

c. Recitation of the Posting Lecture or other portions of the Standard Work as proof of proficiency at a virtual Stated Communication. If a Lodge allows it, a Committee of Brothers may individually meet with the Candidate, following all governmental pandemic restrictions in order to test the Candidate’s proficiency and the Lodge may accept the Committee’s report at the next Stated Communication; and

d. Any other esoteric (portions of the Standard Work that are ciphered) work.


What Activities are Authorized During a Virtual Stated Communication?

a. Education;

b. Granting charitable relief;

c. Reporting on activities approved by the Executive Committee during the time in-person meetings have been prohibited;

d. Creation of Lodge committees including audit;

e. Waiver of a Brother’s dues and/or assessments;

f. Issuing dimits;

g. Consideration and approval of Lodge By-Law and Standing Rule changes;

h. Any part of the Standard Work that is in plain text (not in cipher); and

i. All other business normally conducted that is not specifically disallowed by the Washington Masonic Code of the Grand Master’s directive.your paragraph here.