“Explosion” is the word being used by health professionals to describe the current increase in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. The Governor’s office has begun to ratchet back meeting capacities for groups like ours, and you’ve doubtless noticed a spate of canceled special events and ceremonies. Since the safety of our members is paramount we should rightly follow those leads, and with consensus from the Grand Lodge’s COVID Committee I am here to announce amendments to the “Returning to In-Person Masonry” edict. The changes follow, but at the behest of the COVID Committee I begin with this plea:
Stay home from Lodge if you’re sick.
Maintain your distance, wear your mask, and wash your hands.
Take care, and watch out for one another.
These are the updates:
1. With respect to gatherings at a Lodge:
A. No in-person gathering held indoors may exceed 25 people or 50% of total capacity, whichever is lower.
B. In-person Lodge activities held indoors will be limited to 60-minutes in length.
C. In accordance with the latest Stay Safe MN requirements for our designated setting: “People attending a meeting must not mingle or socialize before or after the meeting, as this type of contact creates an increased risk of transmission.”
D. The Grand Lodge strongly advises all Installations of Lodge Officers to be held online (see #13 in the updated Grand Lodge of Minnesota COVID-19 Preparedness Policy for additional details).
2. With respect to Degrees, all remaining degree conferrals for 2020 have been postponed. New tentative dates have been selected for the rescheduled EA degrees in Duluth (1/23/2021) and Rochester (1/30/2021). A final decision whether to further delay these events will be made on January 8th.
Our COVID Committee is continuing to monitor the situation and will be meeting regularly to review the latest data and recommendations from MDH, examine suggestions from members, and lend me advice. If you have suggestions, questions or concerns about the Grand Lodge’s COVID plans, please send them through your District Representative to the Grand Lodge office who will forward them on to the committee.
As I have said now so often, there’s not a single one of us who delights in any of these measures. All I can do is thank each and every one of you for your patience, for all your extra efforts to clean and to distance and to sanitize, and for the resolute way you’ve borne it all. You are truly Masons, each and every one.
Ethan A. Seaberg