Freemasonry in Loughton

Re-Opening Monday 17th May 2021


Following the recent relaxation of restrictions by the Government with regard meetings and gatherings the Board have undertaken a risk assessment and have agreed to the reopening of the Centre as of Monday 17th May 2021.

This will mean that all regular meetings of Lodges and Chapters planned from that date will now go ahead, as long as the members feel they want to have the meeting under the current conditions. If you will not be meeting please let us know as soon as you can so we take the appropriate action. It is up to the individual unit to abide by the relevant requirements of each order as to what to do in these circumstances. As a reminder it is up to each individual to decide if they want to attend.

For meetings to go ahead there will still be a number of rules, regulations and restrictions.

  • Access to the building will ONLY be allowed for the planned Regular or Emergency meeting
    • Access outside these times will invalidate the cleaning and sanitizing
  • On entering the building, the following procedure will need to be undertaken
    • A member of the Centre staff will be present
    • He will take the brother’s temperature and ensure that the brother is not suffering symptoms
    • A mask or shield will be needed, if a brother does not have one, there will be a box by the door 
    • The brother will then be required to sign in to ensure that track and trace can be actioned if necessary
      • There is a QR Code for the NHS Track & Trace in the Centre and members are encouraged to log in
    • There will be a gel hand sanitizer by the door, as well as at strategic points around the building, please encourage your members to use it
  • All Units must follow the UGLE/MMH guidelines on running meetings and ceremonies
    • These include use of equipment and VSLs
      • All equipment will be sanitized after each meeting
  • Changing 
    • All changing into Regalia will be done in the Lodge Room as the robing room is still full of chairs
  • Meetings will be restricted to a maximum of 30 for Craft, MARK, RAM, KT 
    • But only 26 for HRA 
    • The Room will be set out to meet these requirements, observing a ONE metre spacing 
    • As per UGLE/MMH guidelines there will be no singing, and the organ should not be used
    • But the OTO system can be used to enhance the meeting
  • Caution should be exercised in going up and down the stairs
    • There should be limited passing on the stairs
  • Once the meeting is finished attendees should be encouraged to leave the Lodge Room in a timely manner 

Dining will be allowed but will not take the form of a Festive Board.

·         Dining Room Layout

o   There will be a maximum of 5 tables x 6 persons, giving a maximum capacity of 30 diners.

·         Current Regulations

o   Within the terms of the current guidance from UGLE, Lodges/Chapters are not permitted to organise Festive boards.

o   All Tables must be booked by individual brethren. They may book for themselves and the Five other persons.

o   Each booking must be paid for by the person placing the order. 

·         Placing an Order

o   To avoid problems of control, only a restricted menu will be available, attached.

o   Orders to be made by e-mail to lmc.catering@yahoo.com

o   These must be received at least 7 days before the date of the meeting.

o   Initial Wine and other drinks must also be pre-ordered.

o   As a minimum of 10 diners will be required to enable us to operate, each booker will receive a confirmation by email, 3 days before the date of the meeting that the service will go ahead.

o   No changes to the content of the meals ordered can be made after this date.

o   Cancellations cannot be accepted after this date also. All related costs remain the liability of the booker.

·         On the Day

o   Each table will be numbered, and the allocation will have been advised to the booker at the time of confirmation. A reminder of the meals ordered will also be on the table.

o   Brethren should take their seats immediately on arriving in the dining area.

o   The Bar will not be open for direct service. Any drinks required with the meal must be pre-ordered before the Lodge/Chapter is opened. These will be placed on the tables prior to the meal.

o   Any further drinks can be obtained from the bar person on duty. They will be served at the table.

o   Masks are not required whilst seated but must be worn at all other times.

o   Each table must remain constant and must not mix with any other.

With regard to booking ADDITIONAL meetings and LoIs/CoIs and external bookings and events from receipt of this email the centre is taking bookings for ADDITIONAL MEETINGS ONLY. Please email me on the email in my signature below

As previously communicated:

  • We will take ALL bookings for additional meetings on a first come first served basis from Lodges and Chapters who meet at Loughton.
    • Additional meetings at Loughton for Lodges and Chapters that meet at Loughton will be FREE OF CHARGE, up to the number of meetings missed since the suspension in April 2020.
      • This means that if your Lodge has missed 2 meetings since April last year you will be able to have 2 additional meetings at NO COST.
      • This will be up to the end of the “Season” next year, so up to end of August 2022 if needed.
    • The calendar on the LMC website is up to date with regular bookings, so you will not have to rebook your regular meetings. 
    • Please consult the calendar on the site when you are looking for additional meetings, it will make it easier and quicker to make the bookings and reduce the “to and fro” of emails. 
    • As soon as additional meetings are CONFIRMED the Calendar will be updated
    • https://loughtonmasonic.org/calendar
  • In addition, we will be offering the use of the Lodge room to Lodges, Chapters and other Units who meet at other Masonic Centres and cannot meet at their home centre. To help these we will charge a set fee of £50 to cover cleaning etc.
  • To accommodate these anticipated additional meetings the Centre will NOT CLOSE over the summer,  the Centre will be open for the whole of July and August.

With regard to LoI and CoIs it has been decided that there will not be any to start with, to make sure we only have one unit at a time in the centre. Assuming all goes well with the reopening of the country in general and the Centre in particular we will restart LoIs/CoIs from 17th July 2021 and we will start taking bookings then.

A limited number of external bookings will be accepted in the next few months. They will be allowed on dates that do not conflict with meetings and allow time for the Hall to be cleaned and made Covid secure again.

We are all looking forward to getting back to some form of normality and I am sure we have missed the companionship of brethren over the last 12 months plus. The actions above are in place so that we can get back, but we still have to be careful and vigilant. 

Two points to mention that I am sure will come up is discussions:

  • It is not possible for the Centre to impose requirements on brethren to have a negative test or a vaccination. This is in line with instructions from UGLE/MMH. We can only urge users of the facilities to abide by the Government’s guidelines and other instructions.
  • From the above it will not be possible to impose this on the staff either, however we will encourage and support them abiding by guidelines and they will be masked and maintain Social Distancing where necessary and required.     

If you have any questions please contact me or another member of the Board. We will be in regular communication as a Board to make sure we can react in a timely manner and in line with Government guidelines, and will of course let you all know.   

Sincerely & Fraternally

Chris Hicks 

Loughton Masonic Centre

Director

Bookings, Events & Communication 

www.loughtonmasonic.org

chris.hicks@communication.mosbach.co.uk

Tele: 01277 260532

Mobile: 07702 848878



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