To: All Officers, Lodges and Members of the Michigan Elks Association
This past Sunday, November 15, 2020 Governor Whitmer announced that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) had issued an Emergency Order designed to limit indoor and outdoor gatherings where COVID-19 is more likely to spread from person to person. This new emergency order enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates. Indoor gatherings are the greatest source of spread, and sharply limiting them is our focus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “The order is targeted and temporary, but a terrible loss of life will be forever unless we act. By coming together today, we can save thousands of lives.” This emergency order goes into effect at 12:01am November 18, 2020 and will remain in effect for three weeks, unless extended by MDHHS or other orders from the State of Michigan.
Gov. Whitmer in her address, talked about the models that are projecting 1000 new deaths per week during the present surge. Hospitals are nearing capacity and may become unable to accept new patients. And, she has asked our citizens to postpone plans for family Thanksgiving gatherings and limit them to one (or perhaps two) single family units.
In looking at the points she covered, and the guidelines MDHHS has presented, it occurs to me that the MEA and our member lodges should stand up and become part of the effort, rather than looking for ways that we can circumvent the intent and goals of this program.
Right now, we are talking about sacrifices now scheduled over the next 3 weeks, but I would be somewhat surprised if it actually ended that quickly.
So, effective at 12:01am tonight (Wednesday, November 18, 2020):
Lodges will be closed, except as necessary to provide the services outlined below.
Indoor food and beverage service in all Michigan Elks Lodges is to be suspended. Lodges can conduct outside delivery of meals with a minimal staff (perhaps 4) who can prepare, set up and deliver meals to vehicles outside the lodge. Several lodges have been successful in this kind of delivery during the past several months.
The only other people in the lodge will be the minimum number needed to secure and preserve the lodge, its premises, and assets.
Necessary business (lodge meetings, board meetings, etc.) should be conducted via ZOOM enabling lodges to handle financial obligations as well as initiations while the order is in effect.
Memorial Services are approaching, but Lodges might begin making plans to hold Memorial Services via ZOOM or considering a new date later in the year. Gathering members to honor/remember our deceased members makes little sense, when so many lives are now on the line. Additional information regarding Memorial Services is expected from Grand Lodge on Thursday.
These efforts will enable lodges to reduce their “exposure profile” and show the community that we are with them in their fight.
James R. Deamud SDGER