Throughout this period of national and international emergency, the well-being and safety of our members has been paramount. This is why the guidance we have issued so far has gone beyond that published by the UK Government and Public Health England.
For our members overseas, our guidance has supplemented that provided by the local Public Health Authorities wherever they live.
As a result of the latest advice given by the UK Prime Minister yesterday, backed by the Chief Medical and Scientific Officers, our existing guidance has been reviewed and updated.
The Grand Masters of the Orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall have jointly agreed an immediate General Suspension of all Masonic Activity for a period of four months. This means that no masonic meetings or related social activities should take place until further notice. A similar Notice of a General Suspension is being issued today by the United Grand Lodge of England, the Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Rite and the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Whilst regular masonic activity will now cease for the time being, the administration of our Orders will continue as usual with regular updates issued to let you know what is happening.
These are unprecedented times requiring unprecedented action and I feel sure you will agree that the suspension of all masonic activity now is the right thing to do. Our Orders are facing a considerable challenge as a result of the spread of the coronavirus and will do so for some months to come. So, it’s important that we do as much as we can to safeguard one another, maintain contact with one another by phone and email, and ensure that when the current emergency is over, we can fully resume the practice and enjoyment of our freemasonry.
With fraternal regards and best wishes.
R.W.Bro. Ryan A Williams, P.G.J.W. Grand Secretary
Following yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister that the UK government is attempting to delay the spread of coronavirus and the decision by the UK Chief Medical Officers to raise the risk level from moderate to high, we have updated the advice given in the joint statement issued by Mark Masons’ Hall, the United Grand Lodge of England and the Ancient & Accepted Rite, last week.
The above-average age profile of our membership means that there is a higher risk posed to our more elderly members which is why we have decided to strengthen our existing advice beyond that issued by Public Health England.
You should also be aware that Mark Masons’ Hall will remain open for masonic meetings (and associated dining) for the time being but administrative staff will, where possible, work from home except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, until further notice. Members wishing to contact the Secretariat or other departments are asked to do so by email in the first instance.
Brethren resident in our Districts and Provinces outside England and Wales are strongly advised to observe whatever measures have been prescribed by the local public health authorities.
We will review this advice as the situation develops. With fraternal regards and best wishes.
R.W.Bro. Ryan A Williams, P.G.J.W. Grand Secretary
A joint statement from the
Grand Secretary / Grand Scribe E
Grand Secretary at Mark Masons’ Hall
Grand Secretary General of the Ancient and Accepted Rite
As the Coronavirus continues to escalate, we are issuing the following urgent guidance above and beyond that issued by Public Health England. This is due to the main age demographic of our membership being in a significantly higher risk group. This advice equally applies to members of the Orders administered from Mark Masons’ Hall and members of the Ancient and Accepted Rite.
COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes COVID-19 more severely affects older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes).
Based on the WHO’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from low to moderate. On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced strengthened legal powers to protect public health, and on the 2 March outlined the UK’s national response to the virus.
Whilst each unit may decide for itself what precautions it may wish to take, we strongly suggest you follow this advice:
Any member who feels unwell should follow the advice from Public Health England. If a member is known to have been infected with Covid-19, then it is standard policy for Public Health to contact all those with whom he has been in contact. Full co-operation is expected to ensure the risk to other unit members – and members of the public – is minimised. We recommend the Secretary maintains physical possession of the attendance book to assist in this process.
If you are worried about a fellow member please keep in contact with them via the phone and text to keep an eye on their wellbeing.
Keeping yourself and your family safe:
Your questions answered:
Q: How long does the corona virus survive on surfaces?
A: It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. It may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. So please ensure you wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds (singing Happy Birthday twice) – especially after using public transport.
Q: I am showing symptoms of the virus, what should I do?
A: Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. If you are worried you are showing symptoms of the Coronavirus please use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47.
Q. I have been asked to self-isolate, what steps should I follow?
A: Please follow the link below if you have been asked to self-isolate for further advice and guidance: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/20/what-is-self-isolation-and-why-is-it-important/
Q: How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
A: The incubation period means the time between catching the virus and showing symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days; most commonly around five days.
As always, the welfare of our members is paramount. We encourage all members to following this guidance and keep up-to-date with developments from Public Health England as they are issued.
Dr David Staples FRCP,
CEO and Grand Secretary, United Grand Lodge of England
Grand Secretary, Mark Masons’ Hall
Dr G R E Shilson,
Grand Secretary General, Ancient and Accepted Rite