26 October 2021
Lodges and Masonic Centres to re-open across Victoria this Friday
Masonic Centres and Lodges across Victoria may re-open from 6:00pm Friday 29 October, subject to a number of conditions. Third Degree work will be able to be practised from Wednesday 1 December, subject to several conditions.
This decision was made by the Grand Master, MWBro. Richard Elkington, after a unanimous recommendation from a special meeting of the Freemasons Victoria Future Recovery Team. This happy announcement is, of course, subject to any changes announced by the State Government.
A number of conditions, in line with community health and safety expectations, must apply. These include a density ratio of one person per 4 square metres, appropriate social distancing, proper use of QR codes, the correct wearing of masks indoors, regular use of sanitiser, all under the supervision of a COVID Marshall for each Lodge meeting.
Unfortunately, for a temporary period, only those Brethren who are fully (double) vaccinated will be permitted to attend at Masonic Centres and Lodges. We request brethren who hold a valid medical exemption do not return to Lodge in the short term out of concern for their wellbeing.
Freemasons Victoria encourages unvaccinated and single vaccinated members to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible but respects the choices of those who decline that option. It is hoped that the State Government will make further announcements in the early months of 2022 about the status of unvaccinated and single-vaccinated people. We look forward to welcoming all back to Lodge as soon as conditions allow under Phases C and D of the National Plan.
Members will be asked to provide a Digital Certificate or ‘hard copy' of their paperwork to show that they are Double Vaccinated. You may need to update your Smartphone to display your Digital Certificate. A link with advice about how best to do this can be found here. Members will be on their Masonic Honour to provide correct information to the Master of the Lodge, or his nominee.
First Degree and Second Degree work will be able to be practised from this Friday 29 October. Third Degree work will be able to be practised from Wednesday 1 December, subject to candidates being fully informed and unequivocally agreeing to the close physical contact involved.
Authority by the candidate can be downloaded here.
Lodges will be able to conduct Remembrance Day observations, including Ceremonies of the Vacant Chair, subject to all density and other regulations being observed.
Freemasons Victoria is keen to respect all viewpoints. Lodges are encouraged to keep contact with those members unable to attend for the first few months in the COVID-recovery period. In those first few months, it is considered preferable not to have visitors unless they have been specifically invited to fill ceremonial roles in the Lodge Room, and that includes Grand Lodge ceremonial teams for installations, provided all adhere to density limits and maximum numbers. We all look forward to the resumption of visiting as soon as conditions permit. Further advice will be circulated in due course.
Another announcement is expected be made in late November when it is hoped that the Government will provide further details concerning relaxation of density limits, wearing of masks and other requirements.
This is an exciting time for all Freemasons in Victoria. It is incumbent on us all to follow the rules, and the spirit of remaining COVID-Safe. Let us exercise caution, and avoid risk by complying with community standards. All at the Grand Secretariat join in extending every best wish to all Brethren and their loved ones.
MWBro. Don Reynolds
Acting Grand Secretary