I wrote to you last December advising on the continued suspension of masonic meetings in Tier 3 & 2 areas. Clearly, much has happened since then and I write once more as limited meetings resumed on Monday 17th of May.
Currently, the Government has indicated a relaxation of all Covid-19 restrictions with effect from Monday 21st June 2021 but I suspect that this will be dependent upon whether or not the recently identified so-called ‘Indian variant’ gains a firm foothold in the country. With this in mind, I anticipate that some of the current restrictions may well need to be continued in the short term. Further guidance about what is, or is not permitted by the Government will be circulated sometime around the middle of June.
Whilst UGLE has issued a list of FAQs and answers Resumption_FAQs_Craft_v2.01.pdf, much will depend upon last-minute Government decisions, so we will need to be sensible & flexible with our arrangements.
Irrespective of the Government’s position, the temporary regulations approved by the Grand Master remain in force until lifted by him in due course. At that time, we will revert to our normal ways of working but, there is an inevitability, that in light of recent experience and mindful of the direction of the new alignment reflected in the recently published UGLE strategy, it will be a new normal embracing developmental change.
Whilst I am eager to re-engage with you all personally, we need to be prudent and I am aware that a number of Masons (vaccinated or otherwise) still remain concerned about the health implications for themselves and their loved ones. As we resume our activities in the coming weeks, it is important to remember that no member should feel pressurised or coerced in any way into returning to Lodge activities and we must respect the right of individual members to exercise personal caution until circumstances change and their confidence returns.
I have no doubt that those who do attend meetings and festive boards will quickly rediscover what they have been missing and start to enjoy their freemasonry again to the maximum. I am pleased to learn that there has been a significant increase in expressions of interest from potential initiates and it will be great fun to welcome them formally into our Special Province.
I wish you and your families well.
Yours sincerely and fraternally,
Anthony C. Howlett-Bolton
Provincial Grand Master