A note from John Pagella, Grand Superintendent of Works The further advice from Dr David Staples recognises the financial challenges which many Masonic Halls and Centres will face as members follow advice and stay away from meetings.
Loss of income is inevitable, and managers will need to consider urgently if the financial assistance to small businesses and companies operating in the hospitality sector announced in the budget could apply. Relief from business rates may not apply in all cases, and where doubt exists the local rating authority should be approached for guidance, or professional advice should be sought.
Those Masonic Halls and Centres which provide permanent employment or operate using people who are self-employed should familiarise themselves with the new rules which apply to entitlement to statutory sick pay.
Many Masonic Halls and Centres offer outside and private hires. These arrangements are not directly affected by the further advice from Dr David Staples, but they are subject to the rules published by the Government and Public Health England. It is inevitable that over the coming weeks ‘social distancing’ will play an increasing role in public policy to restrict the spread of Covid-19, and that in turn will result in many outside and private hires being cancelled.
Most outside hire agreements contain cancellation policies. The terms of these policies were set up in more normal times, and decisions over whether and how rigidly to enforce loss of deposits should be taken having regard to the reputational consequences in the longer term which will follow from decisions taken in these unusual and difficult times.
Grand Superintendent of Works