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Brethren, I once again greet you all well, and on this occasion to follow up on my announcement made on Wednesday morning that I have approved the reopening of Lodges effective from Monday the 1st of June.

Brethren, this is a milestone for Freemasonry after a 10-week period of lockdown -Alert Level 4, 3 and now 2. And signs are on the cards now for a move to Level 1 at some time, and perhaps the very near future. So well done to everybody for that.

But Brethren, on the reopening of the Lodge comes with it a commitment that we must ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our members. The resources that we have provided from national office are comprehensive, I do ask that you work your way through them, and you follow those guidelines and the decision-making process of the reopening of your Lodge.

You do need to have a risk mitigation plan and that needs to be okayed by the District Grand Master - please do that - it is important so that we can well document the way that we intend to operate during this period, because we are still in Alert Level 2, which means we must follow the government guidelines at all times. Brethren, in particular, I'd like to highlight that the relaxation of gatherings from 10 to 100 means that 100 is the maximum. It doesn't mean that we can now pack 100 Brethren into our Lodge rooms. But what it does mean is that you need to look at the social distancing that is required, work out the size of the Lodge room, and how best you can meet that obligation. And then determine how many people can be in your Lodge room. Your mitigation plan needs to show that you have a process in place to manage that number of people. The last thing you want to have is some big occasion where you expect 50 people to turn up and on the night, you get 110. That will not be acceptable. So you need to address those and work out how you will measure it. Brethren, the next thing I'd like to comment on is the importance of your first meeting. The first meeting, I'd like to suggest, should be a reconnection meeting where you get together as a Lodge, discuss some of the business that has gone unable to be processed during the last 10 weeks, and then focus on where you want to go for the rest of this year. Don't rush into ceremonial work. Make that something for July or August. But focus on how you want to operate as a Lodge, and in doing so do not forget those members that are unable to attend the meeting for various reasons. It may well be that the younger Brethren and those that don't have any health issues or feel comfortable are at a Lodge meeting, but there are a number of our Brethren, who for their own health, family reasons, and whatever do not feel yet comfortable coming back to a Lodge meeting. So, your mitigation plan needs to ensure that those members are still well connected.

Brethren, it’s an important time and I'm looking forward to getting out and about as Grand Master and meeting the Brethren that I've not been able to do over the last six months of my tenure as the Grand Master. But we've all suffered the same. My connection with Lodges has been just as bad as yours. But I've enjoyed the connection that I've had socially through the various formats that we have employed. So, remember that we want to stay connected - we want to revive Freemasonry back in the Lodge room, and do the things that we normally do.

But we need to do them responsibly and socially correct, meeting the guidelines set by the government. I think the last thing that we want is a move back to Level 3 or Level 4, because we have let something slip through the cracks in terms of our relationship with our members.

So, my focus, Brethren, is firstly and I can remind you. One - ensure that you have a Lodge mitigation plan in place and approved by the District Grand Master. Two - is to reconnect with your Brethren and make sure that they are all accounted for whether they attend a meeting or not and that they are taking part in the activities of the Lodge. Three - make sure you have a plan that covers the social distancing and the maximum number of people that are able to attend a Lodge meeting. Make sure that is implemented, and in place. And finally Brethren, make sure that you have the right tools to do the right job in terms of the health and hygiene - plenty of hot water, soap for the bathrooms, hand sanitisers, gels and wipes for the Lodge room. That is very important.

Brethren, this will be the last video that I will make as Grand Master on a weekly basis, but we will change the format and move to a different one where I can still connect to you through this medium. But I'll stop now the weekly ones because they've served their purpose as we have been absent from our Lodge rooms.

Brethren, I wish you all well over the next one or two months as we settle into a new Masonic life - a new way of doing things, and how we will now start to build our road maps and planning for a future that we justly deserve.

Brethren, I thank you for your attention over the last 11 videos and I wish you well.

Thank you.


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