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An Update from Grand Master John Trauner
July 2, 2020
As we begin a new summer month, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across our state. Over the past week, California has set daily records for new corona virus infections–more than 7,000 on June 23 and more than 8,000 on June 30. As of today, more than 240,000 cases and 6,000 deaths have been reported in our state.
This sobering news has prompted me to remind us all that on March 18, I directed that there be no Masonic gatherings of any kind in California until further notice from me. That directive remains in effect today.
While some government restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic have been relaxed, California and nearly all counties continue to prohibit or significantly limit non-essential gatherings. California Department of Public Health directives still prohibit all professional, social and community gatherings. The state notes that these gatherings pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.
Of the counties that are charting their own reopening paths, only two permit gatherings similar to ours, and of those, one strongly recommends against it “because they carry significant risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
In light of this information, my March 18 directive remains in effect in all respects: there shall be no Masonic gatherings of any kind in the state until further notice from me.
- My directive continues to include all Masonic Organizations and Youth Orders.
- My directive continues to apply to both indoor and outdoor gatherings.
- My directive does not prohibit members from attending events sponsored by non-Masonic entities.
- My directive does not prohibit lodges and halls from providing assistance (such as allowing the use of Hall facilities) to non-Masonic entities that sponsor events that are allowed under state and county orders. For example, my directive does not prohibit a Hall from allowing the Red Cross to sponsor and hold a blood drive at the Hall’s facilities.
My March 18 directive also outlined a special procedure for lodges regarding their payment of essential lodge bills that cannot be reasonably deferred. This special procedure also remains in effect until further notice from me. Read the procedure here.
In closing, I know that many members of our fraternity are very anxious to resume Masonic gatherings and rekindle in-person friendships. I assure you that no one is more anxious than me to get “back on the road” and visit with lodges throughout this state. We must not forget, however, that our priority must always be the health and well-being of our brothers, many of whom may be at heightened risk of the potential serious effects of the virus. We must also remember that we, as a fraternity, must set an example for others in our communities, by following both the letter and spirit of the orders and guidance of our public health officials.
Thank you for your continuing dedication to the craft and diligence in complying with my directive. I will update you again as soon as warranted but certainly by the first week of August. Until then, stay safe and best wishes this holiday weekend.
Sincerely and fraternally,
John E. Trauner
Grand Lodge of F&AM of California