The below letter from the Provincial Grand Secretary / Scribe E
was sent on 15 July 2021
Dear Brethren and Companions,
I greet you well and trust that you are aware of the First Minster’s announcement, made yesterday, that Wales will complete the move to alert level one on Saturday 17 July 2021, and will subsequently complete the move to alert level zero on Saturday 7 August 2021 if conditions allow.
At the time of writing, the new legislation has not yet been published but if the law is as expected it means that from Saturday, Masonic Centres in Wales will be permitted to host Masonic meetings of up to 200 people, or the maximum capacity identified in the Masonic Centre’s risk assessment (whichever is lower), if it has:
- complied with the requirements set out in the Regulations; and
- had regard to any guidance published by the Welsh government from time to time.
Note that licensed premises are subject to additional restrictions.
Meeting organisers, who will ordinarily be Lodge or Chapter officers, have an additional obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure that no more than 200 people (or the Masonic Centre’s maximum capacity, if lower) attend any meeting.
If the further relaxations occur on 7 August it appears that all relevant limits on where, and how many, Freemasons can meet will be lifted and the normal ceremonies can return. The eight points outlined in the special edition of First Rising, issued on 13 July, will apply in Wales, and are repeated here for convenience:
- In holding Lodge and Chapter meetings it is essential that Brethren and Companions comply with all legal requirements from time to time in force.
- Provided that they do so, it is not UGLE’s policy to impose restrictions on meeting beyond those required by the law.
- No pressure must be applied to anyone either to attend or refrain from attending meetings.
- The same principle applies to the wearing of face coverings, which should be regarded as a matter of personal choice.
- The use of the modifications to the ceremonies, introduced in the summer of 2020 to enable ceremonies to be performed, should cease as soon as is practicable, except where local legal requirements are imposed in relation to such matters as social distancing.
- The ceremony of Raising (and of Exaltation in the Royal Arch) is once again permitted.
- It is nonetheless sensible to ensure that a candidate for any degree, and in particular that of initiation, is made aware that the ceremony he will undergo will involve a measure of physical contact, so that he can make his own decision as to whether to proceed with it at this time.
- Regulations 5 to 11 of the Temporary Emergency Measures for Covid-19 remain in force, to the extent that they are needed, until 31 December 2021, or such earlier date as the Grand Master or the Pro Grand Master on his behalf shall direct. The Pro Grand Master has directed that Regulations 1 to 4 shall cease to apply from 7 August 2021 except in relation to the unexpired period of a suspension already notified in accordance with them.
In addition, it is anticipated that from 7 August Festive Boards can once again take place as normal.
Please remember that Lodge Secretaries and Chapter Scribes E. should submit summonses to the Provincial Office no later than 14 days before the meeting date. This is especially important in the months ahead to ensure that all Constitutional requirements are met. A separate communication will be sent to Secretaries and Scribes E. with further advice.
Arrangements are being made to enable the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Most Excellent Grand Superintendent and their representatives to join you at Installation meetings from September onwards; and they very much look forward to doing so.
It must be reiterated that no Brother or Companion should feel under any pressure to attend or stay away. The vaccine rollout continues to be a great success and the light at the end of this dark tunnel appears to be getting brighter.
With every good wish,
Provincial Grand Secretary/Scribe E.