14 May 2021
On behalf of the Freemasons Future Recovery Team
Lodges may commence planning for Third Degree ceremonies which hopefully can resume from Tuesday 1 June, subject to a number of strict conditions. This follows the Freemasons Future Recovery Team meeting on 12 May.
This decision has been approved by the Masonic Governing Council after advice from the FFRT.
The strict conditions, all subject to the latest Government restrictions of the day, include:
- The Fellow Crafts are to be informed prior to the raising ceremony that a higher level of personal contact is involved. The FCs must be given the option not to proceed if that is their wish.
- Masks must be worn by all Lodge Room floor participants for that part of the Third Degree work where they come into close contact with the FC.
- Frequent hand sanitisation is to take place throughout the Third Degree ceremony.
A number of other requirements apply.
- Members' white gloves are not to be worn. A decision about gloves will be made at a later date.
- The Master of each Lodge is responsible for appointing COVID Marshall/s to ensure that the mandatory QR code check-in compliance for all attendees. The QR check-in is required by law. Marshalls, who may be the Lodge Tyler are mandatory from Friday 28 May.
- Full Closing ceremonies may be conducted from 1 June, subject to participants wearing masks for that part of the ceremony where the participants come into close contact with each other.
- Lodge caterers must adhere to the same principles used by restaurants. For example, food is to be plated in the kitchen, and brought to the table by Stewards.
This advice supersedes previous advice. The Manual will not be updated at this stage.
The Government's guidelines regarding hand sanitising can be accessed at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/hygiene-physical-distancing
Lodges are reminded that Victorian Government health inspectors are stepping up their patrols at venues across the state to ensure COVID-safe compliance. Further masks must be carried at all times in compliance with State Government regulations.
Lodges are reminded that State Government regulations may change with little notice.
Given Freemasonry's role in setting examples in community leadership, full compliance with all COVID-safe practices is expected.
RWBro. Garry Runge OAM JP