COVID-19 Archive Announcements

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°