Brethren,

As the world is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus, it is important that I share some information with you. I have asked our Junior Grand Warden, RW E. Oscar Alleyne for helpful details since he works closely with professionals in this field.

The Health Departments across the state and country are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus, monitor potential cases, and engage health care providers, community partners, and the public.

Several Brothers have asked what to do about attending lodge etc. As Masons, it is important that we separate facts from fear, misinformation and guard against stigma. Lodge meetings do not need to be canceled at this time.

Leading health experts have stated that if you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not traveled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting COVID-19 are currently low. Individual risk really depends on your exposure. The U.S. expects to detect more cases of COVID-19 through travel, as well as more person-to-person spread. We can also take personal measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. You should have an emergency plan for your family, homes and businesses. We can practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Also at this time, New Yorkers do not need to: limit travel within the state or cities, change where they purchase food or how they prepare it, or avoid public gatherings and public transportation. The Health Departments do not recommend wearing a face mask if you are healthy. Face masks are only recommended if directed by a health care provider.

I realize there are still “unknowns” regarding this virus. Taking advice from trusted health organizations and professionals is our best safe path.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

William Sardone
Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York