Isolation, social distancing and quarantine
Its been an interesting and at some times scary March 2020. The first quarter of the year saw the beginnings of a global pandemic called Corona Virus or COVID-19. In several states, including NY the citizen have been under a 2 week self quarantine to slow the spread of this insidious virus. Although the experts tell us the risk is low for most it can be a bit nerve wracking, especially if you have elderly relatives the area or to care for.
The Grand Master, M:.W:. William Sardone has provided several letters and videos on the happenings at Grand Lodge and provided guidance based on the Federal, State and local authorities. Most concerning is that we as Freemasons gather frequently in groups for a myriad of reasons. The 2 week ban on congregating in groups of more then 10 has seen many cancellations of Masonic Activities. Although this is not pleasant and sometimes even a financial burden as Lodges struggle to raise funds, it’s the right thing to do in the short term.
If you had not already heard the news the GL has also suspended the May Grand Lodge Communication, until May 2021. This means the Grand Master and his officers will be staying on for an additional year. All district officers were asked to also stay on if they could. I believe all Suffolk District Officers will be staying on another year, DDGM, SO and AGLs.
Once the authorities and GL give the OK to begin meetings again I am sure there will be a lot to do and a flurry of activity will begin in earnest. The GM also mentions Lodge elections and how this will be handled. Most likely by the time elections will come up, the bans on meetings will have been lifted so should proceed as normal for Lodges. Stay tuned for more on this as the situation evolves.
The LIPMA has meet and been discussing the Investiture for incoming Masters and news of that will be disseminated soon. If by the date originally planned for the annual meeting and investiture things are back to normal, investiture may also proceed as normal. Another plan calls for investing new WMs in their Lodges prior to installation.
On the good news front, the early indications are that the virus may be treatable with known drugs and for most the symptoms are not serious and resemble a mild flu. As we here in NY shelter in place Lodges around the Suffolk District are finding ways to get the word out and keep in communication. Some are using video conferencing as a way to keep contact and get at least some business transacted that is necessary. The Grand Lodge has put out a series of emails and updates along with recorded videos from the Grand Masters keeping us all up to date and and trying to answer as many questions as possible on what is to come. You can go to the Grand Lodge website or the Grand Lodge Facebook Page to see this info. The information is also posted as soon as possible on the District Website and District BAND. Check in often to assure you have the correct info day by day.
Another aspect to all this is that we must be checking on our Brothers and make sure there is no one being left behind or truly isolated. Lodge officers should be calling, emailing their Brothers and checking that they are not in need of anything, especially our older members. Most of this is common sense but it bares repeating.
There is a lot of information to take in and digest about this virus but we should always be mindful that we need to heed the advice of the experts and our own physicians on this matter.
The hope is that by the time this is read this crisis will be all but over and life moving back to normalcy.
Some helpful links in the meantime:
For Communications with members:
If any member or Lodge needs assistance there are several members in the district who can help facilitate video chat/conferences for your Lodge and/members.
The main goal of course is to stay healthy and safe while this crisis plays out. Help to stop the spread and we’ll be back in Lodge in no time. Stay safe Brothers and we’ll weather this storm as others before.
The Grand Treasurer, R:.W:. Steven A. Rubin posted this earlier to many FB pages and I hope this reaches many: