COVID-19 Archive Announcements

August 2, 2022


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


In our continued effort to monitor the ever-evolving COVID climate, and decrease the involvement of Grand Lodge HQ in local COVID management, we have made the following changes to our COVID policies.


  1. New! We are utilizing the CDC county community level labels “low,” “medium,” and “high” for COVID as they are less confusing than the colors.

  2. New! We are establishing three types of events: Fully-Vaccinated Persons Event (FVP); Fully-Screened Event (FVE); and Open Event (Open). Two of these include options for involving unvaccinated persons at events. (See “Event Types” below for more information).


Before planning an event, please check the COVID levels for your community at the CDC website.

If your county status is:

  • LOW: Business as usual. No protocols or dispensation needed.

  • MEDIUM: FVP only events are allowed and do not require dispensation. Fully Screened Events and Open events require dispensation. (see below)

  • HIGH: All event types require, at minimum, masks and distancing. Fully Screened Events and Open events require dispensation. (see below)

A list of S.G.I.G. assignments for local COVID management can be found here.


Event Types:


All events must conform to the minimum safety precautions for the COVID status of their county (low/medium/high) People with symptoms should stay home.


Fully-Vaccinated Persons Event (FVP).

All attendees have been confirmed by the Master or a designated officer to be fully vaccinated according to the definition provided by the CDC. All available boosters are strongly recommended.


Fully-Screened Event (FSE).

At the discretion of the Master and the S.G.I.G. assigned to local COVID management, all attendees are either fully vaccinated (see above) or have shown a negative COVID test within 3 days of the event, but as close to the event as possible. Testing on the day of the event is strongly recommended and may be required to be done in-person/on site at the request of the S.G.I.G or Master. Fully Screened Events must be advertised as such so that attendees will understand that unvaccinated people may attend.


Open Event (Open).

An Open event does not involve verification of vaccination status or use of COVID testing. This type of event will require a proposal for additional safeguards (e.g. masking, air circulation) which must be approved by the S.G.I.G. assigned to local COVID management.


Love is the law, love under will.


U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

July 1, 2022


New! Effective immediately, the oversight of U.S.G.L. COVID protocols is transferred to the purview of assigned S.G.I.G.

You can learn which individuals are assigned to your Camp, Oasis, or Lodge by visiting here.


New! There have been updates to our FAQ including the addition of our guidance for individuals with a medical contraindication for the vaccine.


We continue to operate based on the county status color codes per the CDC map, available here: COVID-19 by County | CDC.

(see table on home page)


Events hosted IN red counties must be outdoors.

Indoor events hosted in GREEN/YELLOW counties per the above can be attended by residents of red counties if they mask and social distance.


NOTE: When an O.T.O. body is participating in an event run by another organization, those participating under the auspices of O.T.O. must adhere to the above.


What else do we need to know?

  • This U.S.G.L. policy is NOT optional.

  • Local bodies must adhere to any more restrictive state or local laws.

  • Local bodies may require additional measures (such as masks, distancing, etc.) based on the needs of local members and circumstances peculiar to their local body.

  • Local leadership is encouraged to consider what is in the best interest of the local membership when shifting into this new system.

  • The Outdoor Events Policy and Indoor Public Space Events Policy pages have been updated to reflect our new standards.




What if we have unvaccinated minors/medical exemptions for otherwise FVP events?


Arrangements for children age 6 months and under (no vaccine currently available) or persons with verified medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine are able to attend FVP events with advanced arrangement.


Attendees should request arrangements in advance, allowing enough time for Masters to make a decision regarding additional precautions (masks, distancing) and to communicate those precautions to attendees so that they can make informed decisions.


For a full explanation of requirements for Fully Vaccinated Events and exemptions see the full FVP Protocol document, available by request at planning@oto-usa.org


Guidance for those who have tested positive/been exposed to COVID:


  • Persons who test positive for COVID but have no symptoms may attend an event that starts 10 or more days after the positive test

  • Persons who test positive for COVID and have symptoms may attend an event starts 10 or more days after the first date of symptoms

  • Persons currently experiencing COVID symptoms - including fever- should stay home. A full list of COVID symptoms can be found here

  • If you know you have been exposed to COVID within 10 days of an event, take a COVID test. If you test negative and have no symptoms, you may attend but must wear a mask


I have more questions. Help?

Contact planning@oto-usa.org







March 3, 2022


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


Big changes in this update–please read carefully!


Going forward, you will determine your county’s status based on the newly-released CDC map, available here: COVID-19 by County | CDC.


Why the change?

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team remains committed to decisions based on the best available facts, science, and state-of-the knowledge. As this data continues to evolve, so does U.S.G.L. COVID policy.


The Global Epidemics website remains useful for the goal of preventing the spread of COVID. In the wake of Omicron the CDC’s focus has changed from “prevent the spread of COVID” to “prevent overwhelm of the healthcare system.” With this in mind, the CDC’s guidance takes into account several additional metrics–such as vaccination rates and the percentage of new COVID cases that are serious enough to require hospitalization–that do not factor into a “prevent the spread” analysis.


What do the colors mean for local bodies?


Before hosting an event, the local master (or chapter leadership, where appropriate) will look at the color of the county where the event is taking place AND the county or counties where the participants live. If there are multiple colors involved, use the most restrictive color.


(See table on COVID-19 information page)



What else do we need to know?

  • This U.S.G.L. policy is NOT optional.

  • Local bodies must adhere to any more restrictive state or local laws.

  • Local bodies may require additional measures (such as masks, distancing, etc.) based on the needs of local members and circumstances peculiar to their local body.

  • Local leadership is encouraged to consider what is in the best interest of the local membership when shifting into this new system.




What if we have unvaccinated minors/medical exemptions for otherwise FVP events?


Arrangements for children age 5 and under (no vaccine currently available) or persons with verified medical exemption for the COVID-19 vaccine are able to attend FVP events with advanced arrangement.


Attendees should request arrangements in advance, allowing enough time for Masters to make a decision regarding additional precautions (masks, distancing) and to communicate those precautions to attendees so that they can make informed decisions.


For a full explanation of requirements for Fully Vaccinated Events and exemptions see the full FVP Protocol document, available by request at planning@oto-usa.org


I have more questions. Help?

Contact planning@oto-usa.org






February 20, 2022


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


The data on the recent Omicron variant of COVID-19 is trending in a positive direction and county statuses are returning to more manageable levels. As pressure on our healthcare system is easing, we are pleased to adjust the U.S.G.L. requirements for fully vaccinated events (FVP) in counties that are no longer in RED status per the Global Epidemics site.


For all events, If you do not have a standing dispensation on file with U.S.G.L. or would like to host an event involving unvaccinated persons or without verifying vaccine status, you are required to submit a proposal for your event to planning@oto-usa.org.


Current Requirements for FVP Events if your county is in the RED

Based on the highly infectious nature of the omicron variant and currently available data and best practices, the following requirements are effective immediately:


  • Only FVP may attend. FVP continues to mean a person who is at least two weeks out from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or their single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. While highly recommended, a booster is currently not required for FVP status.

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all indoor events.

    • Single layer fabric masks, such as neck gaiters (such as Buff brand), are not acceptable. Masks with valves or vents that allow virus particles to escape are not acceptable.

  • The CRT strongly recommends local bodies require use of a KN95/N95 rated mask; in the event those are unavailable, the recommendation is for a surgical type mask with a double-layer fabric mask on top (or a mask that uses a filter).

  • Feasting / Food and Beverage (unless straws are used in conjunction with masks) are prohibited unless dining is done in an outdoor setting with adequate distancing.

    • Consuming communion is acceptable so long as there is space for distancing and masks are put back on immediately.

Current Requirements for FVP Events if your county status is Orange/Yellow/Green:

  • Only FVP may attend. FVP continues to mean a person who is at least two weeks out from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or their single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. While highly recommended, a booster is currently not required for FVP status.

  • Attendance is limited to those residing in orange/yellow/green counties. If this is not possible, use RED county standards.

  • Masks are not required, unless state/local restrictions say otherwise, but are encouraged as desired.

  • Feasting / Food and Beverage are no longer prohibited.

  • All state/local restrictions must be followed.



We continue to monitor the situation and expect to continue lightening this guidance as the situation improves.


Please submit any questions related to these policies to planning@oto-usa.org


Love is the law, love under will.


U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team



January 20, 2022 Important New Information


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


Thanks to all the Masters who have responded in cooperation with the tightening of FVP events restrictions to assist us in navigating the current Omicron surge. Your clarifying questions have shown the depth of your caring for the health of our Order and our communities.


It appears that the current surge will be over in a few weeks, but until that time we are adding the following additional restrictions to FVP events:


Updated New Requirements for FVP Events

Based on the highly infectious nature of the omicron variant and currently available data and best practices, the following requirements are effective immediately:

  • Only FVP may attend. FVP continues to mean a person who is at least two weeks out from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or their single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. While highly recommended, a booster is currently not required for FVP status.

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all indoor events.

    • Single layer fabric masks, such as neck gaiters (such as Buff brand), are not acceptable. *NEW* Masks with valves or vents that allow virus particles to escape are not acceptable.

  • The CRT strongly recommends local bodies require use of a KN95/N95 rated mask; in the event those are unavailable, the recommendation is for a surgical type mask with a double-layer fabric mask on top (or a mask that uses a filter).

  • *NEW* Feasting / Food and Beverage (unless straws are used in conjunction with masks) are prohibited unless dining is done in an outdoor setting with adequate distancing.

    • Consuming communion is acceptable so long as there is space for distancing and masks are put back on immediately.


Please submit any questions related to these policies to planning@oto-usa.org


Love is the law, love under will.

January 2022 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


Omicron Basics for Local Bodies and Members January 11, 2022


New Requirements for FVP Events

Based on the highly infectious nature of the omicron variant and currently available data and best practices, the following requirements are effective immediately:

  • Only FVP may attend. FVP continues to mean a person who is at least two weeks out from their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer or their single dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson. While highly recommended, a booster is currently not required for FVP status.

  • Masks that cover the mouth and nose are required at all indoor events.

    • Single layer fabric masks, such as neck gaiters (such as Buff brand), are not acceptable.

  • The CRT strongly recommends local bodies require use of a KN95/N95 rated mask; in the event those are unavailable, the recommendation is for a surgical type mask with a double-layer fabric mask on top (or a mask that uses a filter).


We will re-evaluate the need for this measure when we have passed the current Omicron surge.


Omicron is different from “old COVID.” The omicron variant of COVID is currently the dominant strain in the United States. It is magnitudes more transmissible than delta. Omicron does NOT have the same batch of symptoms as the earlier strains; instead, it tends to mimic a cold. Symptoms include:

  • Cough

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Sore throat

  • headache


The signature COVID symptom–loss of smell/taste–is NOT a symptom of omicron. Please, if you have any symptoms, please stay home (do not attend in-person local body events).


Data available to date indicate that omicron generally does not (but still can) cause serious illness (requiring hospitalization) in those who are fully vaccinated and who have had a booster. Please do your part to guard the camp!




Love is the law, love under will.


U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

Thanksgiving 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


What are we thankful for??


Boosters!


Last week the FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine boosters for people age 18+ and we hope you are all doing your part to get them.


Please note, however, that the C.D.C. has not changed its definition of “fully vaccinated” and

neither have we.


A Fully Vaccinated Person (FVP) as a person who is:

  • 2 weeks past their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

  • 2 weeks past a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine



Enjoy your holidays everyone, we have so much to be thankful for!


Love is the law, love under will.


U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

November 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


COVID numbers continue to show signs of leveling out, supporting our hope that we’ll be on the other side of this by spring 2022.


16 local masters currently have received standing dispensation to perform 100% fully vaccinated events, which has decreased the volume of proposals received, while the overall number of events reported has increased.


Local masters interested in hosting in person events for the first time, wish to host events involving unvaccinated persons, or those who have not yet received a standing dispensation must submit their proposals to the COVID response team. A complete list of available event guidance can be found on the home page.

Love is the law, love under will.


July 7, 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we pass the one year mark since first offering COVID-safe options for local body activities and more than six months since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, we are pleased to see a strong uptick in activity across U.S.G.L. This is predominantly due to the popularity and ease of holding events that are limited to Fully Vaccinated Persons, although both types of events are taking place.


It is encouraging to us how many of our members are offering their support for our gradual and safe reopening.

We continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other health organizations with regard to any changes in advice, in particular we are watching the developments of the Delta variant now spreading through the U.S.

Further updates will be posted to this site as appropriate.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


October 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Happy autumn!


According to health officials, we have managed to pass peak Delta variant. Already the Global Epidemics site is looking more “orange” than it was just a week ago. Barring any new variants that will send us into another spike, projections are looking optimistic for achieving “background levels” for COVID-19 by sometime this spring.

See the whole story here: https://covid19scenariomodelinghub.org/viz.html


The mood of the U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team is best described as “cautiously optimistic” and in that spirit we are discussing ways that we can lighten the reins of the team with regard to regulating local body activity.


To that end we have contacted several local masters who have engaged with us in the last 18 months and shown a solid understanding about and willingness to adhere to the standards for 100% fully vaccinated events. These masters have been invited to continue to host such events for their local body with a standing dispensation, removing the need to submit a proposal for a fully vaccinated event.


Please note that this applies ONLY to local masters who have been invited to do so by the CRT, and ONLY to events that are 100% FVP. Local masters hosting events that involve unvaccinated individuals or unverified vaccination status remain obligated to submit proposals to the CRT for approval.


CLARIFICATION: THE ROLE OF COUNTY STATUS AND EVENTS


Last month’s update created some confusion with the addition of a new policy for events in public spaces and a reminder about the Outdoor Events Policy. Both policies contain language that prohibits events in counties in RED status per the Global Epidemics site.


These policies only apply to gatherings in public indoor and outdoor spaces where mixing with the public cannot be controlled and, therefore, vaccination status for people in the area/room cannot be fully known. This means festivals, coffee houses, and locations of that nature. Doing a meet and greet in a public restaurant or having a table at your local street fair is not allowed when county status is in the red.


If your event is in a private space, meaning you control who has access to it, and it is a FVP event, county status does not currently affect your ability to hold that event.


DELEGATION OF VACCINATION VERIFICATION

There is a new question in the FAQ:


Q: For a FVP event local masters are required to submit attestation of vaccination status. Does that mean that they have to attend every event and view the vaccination proof personally?


A: Not necessarily. Local masters may, at their discretion, delegate this task to a trusted local officer.


Love is the law, love under will.


The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


July 7, 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we pass the one year mark since first offering COVID-safe options for local body activities and more than six months since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, we are pleased to see a strong uptick in activity across U.S.G.L. This is predominantly due to the popularity and ease of holding events that are limited to Fully Vaccinated Persons, although both types of events are taking place.


It is encouraging to us how many of our members are offering their support for our gradual and safe reopening.

We continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other health organizations with regard to any changes in advice, in particular we are watching the developments of the Delta variant now spreading through the U.S.

Further updates will be posted to this site as appropriate.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


September 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we approach autumn and the Delta variant is filling our ICUs, many questions have arisen from Masters concerned about how best to proceed with events. This month’s update will focus on the current position of U.S.G.L., based on the guidance of the CDC.


But first, we would like to state that in all cases, U.S.G.L. supports caution. Nearly all events approved by the COVID Response Team (C.R.T.) are fully vaccinated, with relatively low attendance. Many are private. These events are not of high risk to those who participate, however there is still the possibility that when we gather we are asymptomatically spreading the virus. If your community hospitals are full, or even turning away patients in need of medical care due to strain of resources, consider using masks at your FVP events, even if your local government is not requiring them.


Here is a basic outline of what is required to host in person events under U.S.G.L. at this time.


  • For the purposes of the C.R.T. An “event” includes every in person gathering under the auspices of a body under U.S.G.L. This includes business meetings, social gatherings, rehearsals, etc.

  • Outdoor social gatherings / rituals (Not E.G.C. or Initiation) continue to be allowable per the Outdoor Events Policy without proposals for dispensation. Please note that this policy requires that county status NOT be in the red per the globalepidemics.com site. Most counties are currently in the red.

  • Indoor public space gatherings are guided by a new policy posted on the site here, which outlines the requirements for meeting in public spaces (coffee shops, bookstores, etc.) which, like the Outdoor policy, does not require submitting a proposal to the C.R.T. It too requires a county status other than red on the global epidemics site.

  • Outdoor Initiations/EGC ceremonies require dispensation of the C.R.T.

  • Indoor private space events of all types require dispensation from the C.R.T. These fall into three types.

    • In cases where vaccination status is being monitored and attendance is limited to vaccinated only, additional safety measures are only required as they adhere to state/local mandate, although we support any additional measures required by local masters at their discretion.

    • In cases where vaccination status is being monitored and accommodation is being made to attendees who are not vaccinated, a plan for adequate safety measures will be required.

    • In cases where vaccination status is not being monitored, the event will be treated as if nobody is vaccinated, and safety precautions required will reflect this.


Questions and requests for additional information can be directed to planning@oto-usa.org. A list of available guidance documentation can be found below.


Love is the law, love under will.


U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team



July 7, 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we pass the one year mark since first offering COVID-safe options for local body activities and more than six months since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, we are pleased to see a strong uptick in activity across U.S.G.L. This is predominantly due to the popularity and ease of holding events that are limited to Fully Vaccinated Persons, although both types of events are taking place.


It is encouraging to us how many of our members are offering their support for our gradual and safe reopening.

We continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other health organizations with regard to any changes in advice, in particular we are watching the developments of the Delta variant now spreading through the U.S.

Further updates will be posted to this site as appropriate.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


August 2021


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law


We continue to see an increase in local body activity this month with 61 events in the month of July. Thirty-four groups under U.S.G.L. have hosted in person events since July 2020.


Vaccine Verification for Fully Vaccinated Person (FVP) Events


Important Reminder that while the local master is responsible for verifying vaccination status for FVP events, they are NOT permitted to obtain, make, or retain a copy of the vaccination card. Do not verify vaccination status via email.


Delta Variant


Across the nation we are seeing spikes in the Delta variant, which is causing some local government agencies to reinstate mask requirements for public events, even for FVPs. Masters, please be vigilant in monitoring local restrictions as they are changing frequently.


U.S.G.L. and the C.R.T. remain committed to continuing to meet in-person, even when other kingdoms within O.T.O. remain closed since the start of COVID-19. We are also committed to following the data, epidemiology, science, and best practices from public health organizations. While there are no activities in life that are 100% risk-free, we have a fraternal duty to each other to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19.


Love is the law, love under will.


COVID-Response Team



July 7, 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we pass the one year mark since first offering COVID-safe options for local body activities and more than six months since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, we are pleased to see a strong uptick in activity across U.S.G.L. This is predominantly due to the popularity and ease of holding events that are limited to Fully Vaccinated Persons, although both types of events are taking place.


It is encouraging to us how many of our members are offering their support for our gradual and safe reopening.

We continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other health organizations with regard to any changes in advice, in particular we are watching the developments of the Delta variant now spreading through the U.S.

Further updates will be posted to this site as appropriate.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


July 2021

July 7, 2021 Update


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


As we pass the one year mark since first offering COVID-safe options for local body activities and more than six months since the COVID-19 vaccines first became available, we are pleased to see a strong uptick in activity across U.S.G.L. This is predominantly due to the popularity and ease of holding events that are limited to Fully Vaccinated Persons, although both types of events are taking place.


It is encouraging to us how many of our members are offering their support for our gradual and safe reopening.

We continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other health organizations with regard to any changes in advice, in particular we are watching the developments of the Delta variant now spreading through the U.S.

Further updates will be posted to this site as appropriate.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


June 2021

June 2, 2021 Update

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The new news for this month:

  • U.S.G.L. is no longer prohibiting Order related travel for Fully Vaccinated Persons (F.V.P.).

  • We have published a new Frequently Asked Questions page.

  • Relaxed masking & social distancing options are now available for F.V.P.

On May 16, 2021 the CDC announced the FVP--that is, people who are 2 weeks after their second/final vaccine dose—can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

Effective immediately, for ALL PROPOSALS INVOLVING NOT FULLY VACCINATED PERSONS, the Local Body Master (or the High Priestess & Most Wise Sovereign, for a Chapter event) may select one of the following options:

Option 1: Verified FVP are not required to wear a mask or socially distance. All others are required to wear a mask and socially distance.

Option 2: All persons are required to wear a mask and socially distance.

Please address this change when submitting future proposals. Documents will be updated over the next few days, and will be available upon request.


Fun facts: our work to date:

Number of proposals received: 57

Number of proposals approved: 56

Number of proposals in review: 1

Number of proposals denied: 0


If you have questions that cannot be answered here please do not hesitate to contact us at planning@oto-usa.org.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


May 2021

May 1, 2021 Latest News

Happy Beltaine!

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

April was a busy month! With the number of vaccinated members rising and the weather getting warmer we've had an increase in inquiries and submitted proposals. O.T.O. is emerging from the pandemic slowly, steadily and above all safely!

The introduction of FVP (Fully Vaccinated Persons) protocols created another wave of interest. At this time more than half of U.S. bodies have requested information about how to get events approved. Full up to date numbers of what has been achieved is listed below.

The new news for this week is the latest from the CDC regarding mask requirements for FVP out of doors.

On April 27, 2021 the CDC announced that FVP—that is, people who are 2 weeks after their second/final vaccine dose—are no longer advised to wear masks at outdoor events.

Effective immediately, for all OUTDOOR events, the Local Body Master (or the High Priestess & Most Wise Sovereign, for a Chapter event) may select one of the following options:

Option 1: FVP are not required to wear a mask. All others are required to wear a mask.

Option 2: All persons are required to wear a mask.

Outdoor events must continue to conform to all of the USGL COVID Protocols. The Outdoor Events Policy and the protocol documents for Outdoor Minerval and EGC ceremonies have been updated to reflect this change. If you would like a new copy of an outdoor protocol, please request one by contacting planning@oto-usa.org.

Fun facts: our work to date:

Number of proposals received: 30

Number of proposals approved: 27

Number of proposals in review: 3

Number of proposals denied: 0

Number of bodies participating: 14

Number of initiation candidates: 27

Number of Masses: 13

Number of Classes/Socials: 4


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at planning@oto-usa.org.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


April 2021

April 18, 2021


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


In accordance with the CDCs recent release of recommendations for gatherings of fully vaccinated persons (FVP), we are pleased to make available a new protocol document for events falling under the auspices of U.S.G.L.


Notice: The submission of falsified vaccination information may result in suspension or expulsion according to COLMH Section VIII.B.1.f.


In addition, we have made available indoor protocols for 1st and 2nd degree groups involving unvaccinated persons. The full list of available policies can be found below.


To request any protocol document, please email planning@oto-usa.org.


Please refer to the following flow chart to help you to understand the pathway to holding events in your local O.T.O. community.

The COVID Response Team looks forward to receiving your event proposals!


Love is the law, love under will.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team


April 12, 2021 Message From the Grand Master Regarding Vaccines

Great news from our Grand Master about the impact of vaccines on our ability to meet.

Vaccination - a post on Invisible Basilica

April 5, 2021

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

OUTDOOR EVENTS POLICY

Spring is here! Many areas are starting to experience warmer temperatures, and we'd like to remind everyone that the Outdoor Events policy is still active and allows for compliant outdoor events that are NOT Mass or Initiation without U.S.G.L. dispensation.

ROLE OF THE COVID RESPONSE TEAM (CRT)

The CRT has been navigating policy for U.S.G.L. activity since June of last year. We'd like to thank all of the Masters and Chapter leadership who have participated in the dispensation program. Your willingness to do what it takes to stay safe, whether that means creating proposals for a safe pandemic event or exercising patience to waiting it out, has been encouraging to our efforts. Your interest, questions, and submissions are welcome input to our cause.

It is our role on the CRT to help make events happen. We want you to have successful and safe events. When you voice your interest in learning about the protocols, we remain available to answer questions or connect you with others who have successfully submitted proposals to guide you through the process. When proposals are submitted, an assigned member of the team works with the submitting Master (or Chapter manager) to clarify any points and ask pertinent questions-- all with the end of perfecting the policy and giving a green light to the event.

Our work to date:

Number of events proposed: 24

Number of proposals approved: 24

Number of proposals denied: 0

Number of bodies participating: 10

Number of initiations approved: 14

Number of Masses approved: 9

INDOOR RITUAL PROTOCOLS

New protocols are nearly complete for 1st and 2nd degree initiations. Watch here for news when they are complete.

Love is the law, love under will.


March 2021

March 1, 2021

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

We're nearly to the spring equinox and are still plugging along 1 year into the pandemic and looking forward to sunnier days and an improved COVID outlook. While there is hope in our future that circumstances may allow us to return to more normal activity, we're not there yet!

The COVID response team continues to develop guidelines for how we can remain safe now as well as what is required to relax restrictions in the future.

In the meantime, with spring and summer right around the corner, now is a great time to start planning local outdoor events in accordance with our Outdoor Events Policy Outdoor events that follow this policy DO NOT require a proposal to be submitted.

INDOOR RITUAL PROTOCOLS

In addition to the previously advertised indoor protocols (see list below) we are also pleased to have created additional protocol documents, one for indoor 3rd degree and another for 4th degree through K.R.E. While they are designed for indoor spaces, reasonable proposals modified for outdoor rituals are also welcome.

Indoor air quality is currently a factor in approving indoor protocols and the team has created a document outlining what to look for to ensure adequate are circulation. We have also discovered a useful tool for evaluating air purifiers efficacy in relation to cubic feet of space here. While the tool is designed for school use, we believe there is a baseline of useful data for determining the efficacy of air purifiers, which can be an expensive investment.

We strongly recommend that bodies of U.S.G.L. who are interested in purchasing special equipment for the purpose of hosting events during COVID restrictions submit their plans to the COVID Response Team before buying.

Love is the law, love under will.


January 2021

Updated January 13, 2021

The new policy documents for Indoor Minerval and Indoor E.G.C. events are now available by request to planning@oto-usa.org.

January 3, 2021

Happy Vulgar New Year!

As we continue to navigate through the winter months and increased COVID numbers, and wait patiently to get vaccinated and see what impact that will have on our ability to meet, here is a quick overview the process for seeking dispensation to hold in person events. While events cannot be approved until local county status improves from red to green/yellow/orange, the COVID response team is happy to preemptively discuss your proposals in preparation for healthier times.

*Check your county's status here: Global Pandemics



December 1, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

We hope that everyone had a pleasant and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team has been working diligently on creating new protocols to broaden our scope for future events. There is now a new indoor “Lectures / Social Gatherings” policy document available for local masters who wish to start planning their proposals now for the spring. This document contains the foundational requirements that will likely also be required for any future initiation/Mass proposals, so it is worth reviewing now in the event that your body would like to plan any indoor activity in the coming months.

At this time indoor events remain prohibited.

Outdoor events remain restricted to counties who are not in the red per the Global Pandemics website. Be sure you are viewing the counties filter (it currently defaults to Congressional district.) Outdoor events must conform to the outdoor events policy and outdoor Mass and initiation require the dispensation of the COVID Response Team.

To request a copy of the new Indoor Socials/Classes protocol document, or any of the outdoor events protocols, email planning@oto-usa.org. Please request all COVID policy documents through this email and not through other channels to ensure both proper communication with the dispensation team and that you have the most up to date documents.

Love is the law, love under will.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

November 1, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

We are pleased to introduce the article Crowdfunding 101: Fundraising During the Pandemic, by Soror Vivian, an M.O.E. Delegate. Thank you to Vivian for providing this useful and well timed information.

As we have entered the colder months we have seen a definite slowing of requests to perform outdoor Mass and Minerval, and as COVID numbers rise throughout the country, U.S.G.L. remains hesitant to broaden the offerings to include indoor.

At this time indoor events remain prohibited.

We continue to research requirements for safe indoor events and will post an update here when we are satisfied that the risk is manageable enough to support that change.

Things your local leadership can do to prepare for that eventuality:

  1. Make plans for the spring, when outdoor events may be more appealing in your area.

  2. Familiarize yourself with what we are currently asking for in your proposals. Upon request (contact planning@oto-usa.org), the CRT will provide inquiring Masters with the policy documentation and requirements for an event proposal. We can also provide you with an example proposal as successfully submitted by another Master.

  3. Read up on indoor air quality safety measures. In addition to the many other safety measures we’ll require you to take, the lynch-pin for indoor events is coming down to air quality. In the event that we do accept proposals for indoor events, we’re going to want to know about your space, it’s square footage, ceiling height, and types of ventilation available.

Love is the law, love under will.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

October 1, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

An additional update has been made to the outdoor events policy for U.S.G.L. to include provisions for indoor bathroom use.

Outdoor events “may utilize an indoor bathroom, so long as only one person is allowed to enter the building at a time, and sanitation equipment (spray, wipes, etc.) is provided. All attendees must be instructed to wear their mask at all times, to close the toilet lid before flushing and to sanitize surfaces after using“.

The full updated policy can be referenced on the COVID-19 information home page.

At this time indoor events remain prohibited. The COVID Response Team (CRT) would like to thank the bodies who have so far participated in the dispensation program for outdoor Mass and Minerval. Their contribution and practice in the field is contributing to our evolving policies as we navigate the ever changing COVID world. We are researching safe practices for indoor events and keeping an eye on the infection rates as we enter the cold and flu season in order to gauge the possibility of opening our doors wider, but have no immediate plans to accept indoor proposals.

At this time, we have received inquiries from seven bodies for 10 distinct events and have six approved events on the calendar.

Local Masters may request one-time dispensation for outdoor celebrations of the Gnostic Mass or Minerval initiations by contacting the CRT via planning@oto-usa.org. The team will communicate the process for submitting a proposal and work with masters one on one to ensure their outdoor facilities and COVID mitigation planning are sufficient.

We would also like to thank the Masters who contributed to last month’s Quarantine Activity Survey, distributed through the E.C. Virtual Valley. 63% of Master’s contributed to the survey and more information about the results is being prepared for the winter issue of Agape’.

Love is the law, love under will.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team

September 7, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Please note that an updated version of the outdoor events policy for U.S.G.L., originally published July 5, 2020, has been posted below.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team (CRT) has been working over the past months to develop protocols for Order events in the safest possible manner. At this time, we have determined that indoor events remain prohibited.

Local Masters may request one-time dispensation for outdoor celebrations of the Gnostic Mass or Minerval initiations by contacting the CRT via planning@oto-usa.org. The team will communicate the process for submitting a proposal and work with masters one one one to ensure their outdoor facilities and COVID mitigation planning is sufficient.

Love is the law, love under will.

U.S.G.L. COVID-19 Response Team

---

Amendment to Outdoor Events Policy

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Effective September 7, 2020 the outdoor events policy has been updated to change the language from “household” to “stay-at-home”*, and to add contact information for bodies of U.S.G.L. wishing to pursue dispensation for outdoor celebrations of the Gnostic Mass or the Minerval initiation.

Effective July 5, 2020, bodies of O.T.O. may meet under the following circumstances ONLY:

  • Outdoor

  • Masks required

  • Socially distanced (6+’ between Stay-At-Home units*)

  • No shouting or singing

  • No shared food, tools, utensils, game pieces, etc.

  • Hand sanitizer available

  • In compliance with state and local restrictions https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html

  • No events in red/”high risk” counties per the Global Epidemics site (link below)

  • People living/working in high risk/red counties per the Global Pandemics site

are not eligible to attend events

https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

*”Stay At Home” is generally defined as people who live in the same home and stay at home as much as possible who only leave for work and essential activities and are avoiding group/indoor gatherings. See your local regulations for definitions specific to your state/county.

Any outdoor rituals performed must conform to the above restrictions.

Additional dispensation is required for outdoor celebrations of the Gnostic Mass or the Minerval initiation. For more information contact planning@oto-usa.org.

More information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/considerations-for-events-gatherings.html

As with all policies pertaining to local body activities, the Master is responsible for understanding and effectively enforcing this policy.

Love is the law, love under will.

August 6, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities, we would like to provide an update on the measures currently being taken to address the needs of our Order.

It has been one month since we released the announcement to allow for socially distanced outdoor events that meet safety protocols (see policy here). Several bodies have reported success in having outdoor meetings.

The U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team has been working over the last several weeks on creating viable protocols for a limited number of additional events and a process to grant dispensation for these events. Unfortunately, continued surges in the number of infections and deaths across our country show us that it is too high a risk to pursue a plan for indoor activities at this time.

Indoor O.T.O. events remain prohibited.

Meanwhile, our team will continue to work on indoor event protocols and processes in order to be prepared for such a time when we believe it appropriate to implement them.

Permission to meet outdoors, per the limitations outlined in last month’s announcement is still granted.

If you have any questions about what is permissible for outdoor events, please contact planning@oto-usa.org

Watch this page for further updates, we will be aiming for a monthly cadence.

Love is the law, love under will.

Sr Melissa Holm, U.S.G.L. COVID Response Team



July 5, 2020

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As the impact of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to be felt around the world, we are working diligently to support the members and local bodies of U.S.G.L. For example, we are increasing our use of online resources and offering other support as we are able. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate the uncertainties of this time.

Many have rightly voiced concerns for the future, as the duration and outcome of this period of our history remain unclear. U.S.G.L. is creating a phased plan to reopen in-person events in the safest possible manner. We are evaluating the feasibility of reopening various types of activities and preparing the protocols necessary to do so safely. More information will be available in the coming months.

In the meantime, evidence has been presented by the CDC and other medical authorities that outdoor, masked, socially distanced events--while not without risk--do not show a significant impact on the number of positive cases.

Therefore, effective July 5, 2020 e.v., local bodies of O.T.O. may organize physical gatherings under the following conditions ONLY:

  • Events must be held outdoors

  • Masks must be properly worn by all attendees at all times during the events

  • Social distance (at least 6 feet between persons not of the same household) must be maintained

  • No shouting or loud singing is permitted

  • Door/gate latches and other commonly touched surfaces must be periodically sanitized

  • Consumption of food or drink requiring mask removal is not permitted (straws are OK)

  • Shared handling of objects (books, utensils, money, game pieces, cards, candles, furniture, etc.) is not permitted

  • Hand sanitizer must be made available to all attendees

  • Compliance with state and local restrictions is required https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html

  • Persons residing in high risk counties (shown as red on the map) per the Global Epidemics site are not eligible to attend

https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

Any outdoor rituals performed must conform to the above restrictions.

As with all else pertaining to their local body, the Master is responsible for understanding and effectively enforcing this policy.

This policy is subject to revision or revocation by U.S.G.L. at any time.


For more information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/considerations-for-events-gatherings.html


Love is the law, love under will.

Sabazius X°