Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Grand Master's Directive for Lodge Re-Opening
Where can I find the state, county, and city guidelines for my lodge?
California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy can be found here.
Specific county guidelines can be found here.
Check your city’s website to see if your city has guidelines that supersede the county guidelines.
Meetings and Events
What types of meetings and events are allowed?
All types of indoor private events and meetings are allowed, with limitations. Please see the grand master’s directive and guidance documents for details on the limitations.
Are lodges required to hold in-person meetings?
Lodges are not required to meet in person. It is up to the master to decide if the lodge will begin meeting in person.
What if a lodge meets in a building that is not yet open?
Some lodges, such as those on Masonic Homes campuses, must follow the rules of the place that they meet. Please check with the management of those buildings to determine if your lodge can meet safely.
Can we confer degrees?
Yes, under this guidance, we are allowed to confer degrees.
Will there be any changes to the ritual, given social distancing requirements?
No, there will be no changes to the ritual, with the exception of wearing a mask.
What if we don’t have a full compliment of officers for meetings or degrees?
If officers cannot attend a stated meeting or degree conferral, ask past masters or lodges from neighboring lodges.
Can lodges hold a stated meeting virtually, but have degree meetings in person?
Yes, the master can choose what, if any, meetings to hold in person.
Can lodges hold a hybrid meeting, with some members in person and others online?
A lodge can choose in-person or virtual meetings and it can make a different choice for each meeting (in-person this month, virtual next month). Currently, though, a lodge may not have an in-person stated that also includes a virtual meeting or that has members participating via Zoom or other platform.
Can an inspector call an Officer School of Instruction meeting?
Yes, the inspector will be able to call an in-person OSI meeting.
Can Trustee and Hall board meetings be conducted on Zoom?
Yes, follow your hall bylaws.
Attendance and Safe Behavior
What does “fully vaccinated” mean?
A person is fully vaccinated if they have had all of the rounds of vaccines, and has completed the waiting period after the last vaccine shot.
How often do I have to get a test to be able to attend lodge?
Attendees must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours before attending eachmeeting or event.
What if I’ve already had COVID? Do I still have to provide proof of vaccine or a negative test?
Does a digital copy of the vaccination card or negative test count?
Yes, you may show a digital copy of the vaccination card or negative test.
Does requiring proof of vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test violate any HIPAA requirements?
I don’t feel safe returning to in-person meetings yet. Will I be punished if I choose not to attend an in-person meeting?
No. Returning to lodge safely is a personal choice, and a member or officer should not be penalized for not feeling ready to return.
Do we have to wear masks during meetings and degrees?
Yes, wearing masks is mandated by the state of California, even when speaking.
Is food and drink allowed before or after the meetings?
Yes. The state’s new limitations on private, indoor meetings and events do not prohibit serving food and beverages. Masks are not required when eating or drinking. Check your county’s rules and guidance, however, to be sure that food and drink are allowed at private events in your county.
Do we have to have a guest list and seating chart for rehearsals, dinners, and other meetings (such as Hall Association meetings) that are not stated meetings or degree nights?
Yes, you must have a guest list and seating chart for all events and meetings.
Can guests come to stated meeting dinners?
Yes. Guests may attend so long as they are included on the guest list and seating chart, and show proof of full vaccination or a negative covid test in the last 72 hours.
The state guidance for how far away to seat people is vague. What is an appropriate distance?
The state does not mandate a certain distance for private meetings and events, but your county might. Use your best judgement with the intention of keeping members healthy and safe. Guidance issued by the state and the CDC in many different contexts recommend that adults maintain six feet of social distance.
What if members do not adhere to the rules?
This is an important consideration. If members do not adhere to the rules, the master should reconsider holding in-person meetings until the state changes their guidelines.
What happens if someone tests positive after they attend a meeting? Will all members have to be notified?
If this circumstance should arise, contact your county health department directly for guidance as to next steps.
Site Specific Plan
Is the hall or the lodge responsible for the site specific plan?
The hall association is responsible for the site specific plan, and only one plan is required for all of the Masonic groups who meet in the hall. The lodge master or Masonic Organization that meets in the hall is responsible for ensuring that all of the requirements for attending an event are met.
Do I have to save my site specific plan?
Yes. Share your site specific plan with your inspector. The county may also require to see it.
Are Hall tenants required to follow these rules?
Commercial tenants in halls are responsible for following the state and county rules and regulations that relate to their particular business.
How do I train my members?
Train your members by walking them through the site specific plan, making sure they understand the CDC guidelines and what is considered safe behavior.
Training should be done prior to the first event, and can be on Zoom, or other platform.
What if my county goes back into the purple tier?
If your county goes back into the purple tier, then indoor, in-person meetings will not be allowed.