Covid-19 Protocols for Physical Meetings

Dad Vincent A. D’Aguanno
Executive Officer
Jurisdiction of Michigan
First Edition – May 28, 2020

As we begin the process of moving back into our Chapter rooms, I trust in the wisdom of our families, our members, and our advisors to ensure a safe environment for all. As the Governor continues to open the State, we will keep everyone updated on the rules regarding social gatherings. Currently the limit on social gatherings is ten (10) people or less. This will allow some of our Chapters to have meetings with precautions listed below. The Adult Leadership Team and I continue to monitor the situation and will amend these guidelines as necessary.
The following requirements apply to physical meetings until further notice. The over-riding intent is to ensure the safety of all present by maintaining proper social distancing and avoiding points of contact. Chapters must also abide by any Masonic regulations, or local Lodge rules in particular any limitations on the allowable number of attendees or rules established to promote the safety of attendees.
Where appropriate, the following should be coordinated with the Lodge building management. For example, the building management may provide hand sanitizer or may have established cleaning protocols. If the Lodge does not provide these items then the Chapter should:

  1. Provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, disinfectant wipes, etc.
  2. Before each meeting, apply disinfectant spray or wipes to all seats and stations (podiums, Scribe’s desk, etc) that will be used.
  3. Require all those entering the building to wear masks, unless there is a medical condition that prohibits person from wearing of masks.
  4. Require all who enter the building and Chapter room to apply hand sanitizer or wash their hands.
  5. Maintain social distancing in all areas of the building, including the Chapter rooms. Members should sit at least 3-4 seats apart from one another.
  6. If a visitor needs to verify his DeMolay membership, do so without physical contact. For example, have the young man describe the grip, rather than give the grip.
  7. Opening and Closing – Eliminate forming the triangle.
  8. The Marshall shall conduct by leading. He should not physically escort any person.
  9. Opening Ceremony
    a. There should be adequate space between the Chaplin and Marshall and the Senior Deacon and the Standard Bearer to assure social distancing.
    b. Eliminate all contact points, including handshakes
    c. Collection of the Word of the Day and Word of Emulation shall be done by the Deacons walking the sidelines to verify that everyone is entitled to be there.
  10. Degree work – “Short Form” or traditional:
    a. If there are multiple candidates, choose one to represent the group throughout the Degree. The remaining candidates will be seated.
    b. The candidate/brother should be instructed to follow the Senior Deacon. Stewarts will not conduct the candidates/brothers.
    c. For the obligations only, lead the remaining candidates west of the altar, maintaining proper social distancing. Eliminate the placing of hands on other’s shoulder.
    d. Eliminate kissing the holy book.
    e. Eliminate the handshake after the obligations.
    f. Deacons will not demonstrate the grips.
    g. The Senior Deacon and candidate should maintain proper social distance from the Preceptors and Councilors. This may be accomplished by:
    i. This is the preferred method until we can conduct the ritual as written, without social distancing. Place a pedestal inside the circle formed by the seven candles as allowed by the Ritual of Secret Work. The Senior Deacon should place the Crown of Youth on the pedestal and lead the candidate West of the Altar, then conduct the remaining candidates/brother West of the Altar and maintain social distancing. In turn, the Preceptors advance to the pedestal to place the jewel and deliver their work.
    ii. If the lodge room is large enough for the Senior Deacon and candidate to maintain a six-foot distance from the preceptors, the Senior Deacon should place the Crown of Youth on the preceptor stand and step back. The Preceptor may then proceed to place the jewel on the Crown of Youth.
    h. For the DeMolay Degree drama:
    i. Adequate spacing between the prisoners and any other cast members to assure social distancing.
    ii. Guards should escort the prisoners by leading the Guards should not physically escort the prisoners.
    iii. When reentering the room and when departing at the end of the drama, DeMolay should use a crutch, badly limp and stumble, to demonstrate that he has been severely injured. The guards should not carry or support DeMolay. Chapters may craft a vintage looking crutch with two pieces of 1×1 square doweling, a screw, and maybe some scrap fabric. Or a modern crutch may be used.
  11. When the gathering has concluded, all areas used by the Chapter’s members, advisors and guests should be sprayed or wiped down with disinfectant.
  12. Advisor Council meetings shall be conducted using social distancing requirements. All members should be at least six(6) feet apart and the council may meet in the Chapter room to provide enough space to assure social distancing.

Check with your sponsoring body first to ensure that the building is open, you are able to meet, and the facility has been cleaned. For any questions or concerns please contact Dad Vince D’Aguanno.

Printable copy of these guidelines can be found here.