Fellow CT Elks members - check back here for updates regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the CT Elks Association.

May 8, 2020 - Message from James L. Nichelson, PGER
Elks National Convention Commission Chairman

Every year, we look forward to connecting with our fellow Members at the National Convention, but given the continued concerns about COVID19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 156th Grand Lodge Session in Baltimore, Maryland, which was scheduled to be held from July 5 to July 8, 2020.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the coronavirus and COVID-19, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold the National Convention for our Members, but we know it is the right decision based on the information we have today.

 

This was a tough call to make. The Grand Lodge Sessions are incredibly important to the Order because they are where we elect and install the Grand Lodge Officers and vote on legislation and budgets for the ensuing year, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our Members, our employees, and everyone who helps at the Grand Lodge Sessions. The Convention Commission is exploring other ways and means of completing the tasks that need to be accomplished during a Session and is also investigating the possibility of live streaming the Session on the Elks.org website. Please check Elks.org for updates. We remain committed to the city of Baltimore, Maryland, where we are now planning to hold the 2028 convention. The dates and details will be worked out with the city and the hotels in the months to come.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding and unless a new convention plan is developed for this year's Session, we look forward to seeing you all in Tampa, Florida, for next year's Grand Lodge Session which will be held from July 4 to July 7, 2021!

Stay Safe and Stay Healthy!

Fraternally,
James L. Nichelson, PGER
Elks National Convention Commission Chairman

Tina M. Haran
Convention & Meetings Director

 

April 8, 2020 - Message from Grand Secretary Bryan R. Klatt:

Area 1 District Deputy Grand Exalted Rulers, 
 
I am again enlisting your assistance in the distribution of the attached information to your Exalted Rulers and Secretaries located within your district. The information pertains to the recently signed CARES Bill with respect to what the Lodges and State Associations may or may not apply for. Attached you will find:
 
INFORMATION FOR LODGES CONCERNING THE APPLICABILITY OF FEDERAL RELIEF FUNDS UNDER THE CARES ACT & OTHER FEDERAL COVID-19 RELIEF PROGRAMS – This is a one page synopsis of identifiable bullet points which are further explained in the attachment #2. 
 
HOW RECENT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) LEGISLATION COULD IMPACT YOUR LODGE OR STATE MAJOR PROJECT – This is a five page determination created by our Grand Lodge Committee on Judiciary providing information to the Lodges and State Associations.   
 
Any further questions on this can be directed to your State Sponsor.
 
Bryan R. Klatt
 

 

Grand SecretaryApril 7, 2020 - Message from James Nichelson, PGER National Convention Commission Chairman:

 

 

I express my sincere appreciation to all of you who are working on the front lines during the Coronavirus response efforts and for all who are staying at home so that we can slow the spread of the pandemic. Our number one priority is the health of our members and our communities during this national emergency.

We are all understandably concerned about the ability to convene the National Convention in three months. Please be assured that we are closely monitoring all the latest developments to consider what is safest for our members, what will be allowed and how we must plan for contingencies. At this time, it is still our intention to hold the 156th Grand Lodge Session in Baltimore, MD , July 4-8, 2020. As the government has continued guidance to follow social distancing requirements through all of April, a final decision will be made and announced to members on or before May 15, 2020, as to whether or not the convention will be held, canceled, delayed or modified to be held as a virtual experience.

Like many of you, I have come to envision National Convention as the light at the end of this dark tunnel; something we can set our sights on and look forward to during this difficult time. However, it is my responsibility to examine and balance all the factors with which we are dealing in order to decide whether we can safely stage our annual convention. It will be a very difficult choice regardless of what is ultimately decided because I know there are feelings on both sides; be assured it will be made based on the best information and guidance from the nation’s scientists and federal/local officials, with our ultimate concern being the safety of the membership.

 

As planning for the National Convention continues, I can assure you that if we are unable to hold the convention, any payments provided will be refunded as follows:

 

Pre-Registration

Those who make their payment for Pre-registration will be issued a full refund if the convention is ultimately canceled. Note that the on line Pre-registration is set to open on May 1, 2020.

 

Hotel Reservations

Currently, members pay a deposit to make a room reservation. That deposit is applied to the room reservation unless a member cancels the room reservation within the hotel cancelation policy. However, if the convention is canceled due to Coronavirus concerns and members are forced to cancel their hotel room reservations room deposits will need to be refunded.

Most hotels with in the Elks room block have reduced staff. With that the hotel reservation process at each hotel has slowed down considerably. My recommendation would be to collect all room reservations and submit on a  rooming list starting the first week of May. Then follow up each week with additions/cancelations and updates.

On April 20 I am asking that all housing coordinators send me a current room block count for their state. My fear is we will not be hitting our attrition numbers for all the hotels and want to start putting a plan of action to present to the hotels when they come back on line.

 

Airline Reservations

Grand Lodge has currently stopped booking flights till April 15, at that time we will reevaluate when to re-open the online program a2b for travel of the Grand Lodge committees and Officer.

 Many airlines show flexibility around rebooking and waving change fees. Please check with your airline or travel agent, be aware they have specific flight dates associated with this flexibility. Here is a website with more information relating to airline policy.

  https://www.airfarewatchdog.com/blog/50104455/covid-19-flight-waivers-and-refund-policies-by-airline/   

 

Exhibitor Packets will not be sent out till after May 15.

 

We all recognize that much of our decision will be tied to how well America heals during the month of April. I hope that all of America will commit to social distancing, adhere to precautionary hygiene and follow other important recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so that we can slow the spread of the virus, save lives and return to our normal way of life. We are in this together, and together we will Rise and Shine for America.

 

March 21, 2020 - A new message has been posted by our SDGER Rick Palanzo.  

Good Afternoon:
 
As this pandemic continues and our Governor does his best to curtail its spread, I try to keep you all informed so we can serve our members throughout Connecticut. Governor Lamont’s latest Executive Order 7G further curtails our ability to conduct Elks business in the usual way.
 
In an attempt to comply with this new E.O., I contacted our Sponsor, David R. Carr, P.G.E.R, and received permission for the CT Elks Lodges to conduct “Virtual Meetings”.
 
Lodges can arrange for conference calls, (FaceTime, Skype , etc.) so Officers and Members can attend.
 
In addition to routine Lodge business, CT Lodges will be able to have Virtual Installation of Officers and Initiation Ceremonies. New officers must take the oath of office from a PER or PDD. We should do everything necessary to install new officers before April 15. The Lodge may conduct a formal Installation of Officers ritual with a celebration, later this year if it chooses.
 
Virtual Initiation Ceremonies can be abbreviated, but must contain the Obligation from the Exalted Ruler. When this pandemic has passed, new members should be invited to witness a full initiation ceremony.
 
Lodge Secretaries need to keep minutes of these events and meetings. 
 
Please do your best to communicate with those elder members that may need your help.
 
Stay Safe. This too will pass…….  and we will meet again!
 
Fraternally yours,
 
Rick
 
Richard M. Palanzo, SDGER
 
March 20, 2020 - Three letters from Grand Lodge have been added.  The first is a letter from GER Robert L. Duitsman.  The second is a set of guidelines that the Grand Lodge has established for lodges to operate.  The third is a note about Grand Lodge Convention.

 

PDF version of the letter above

CORONAVIRUS GUIDLINES FOR LODGES

Grand Lodge Convention Update

March 19, 2020

Hello All,
 
Truly hope this finds you all healthy and following all local guidelines for safety.  Want to reach out and pass on some information as it relates to the National Convention in Baltimore and the hospitality industry.
 
With regards to the national convention the Convention Commission is closely monitoring the corona virus situation.  Should the situation warrant, the Commission will review all facets of the convention and, if needed, will not hesitate to recommend the event be cancelled out of caution.  The Grand Lodge is hoping for the best and that action will not be needed. The goal is to make any decision as early as possible to give all plenty of time to cancel travel plans.
 
Visit Baltimore is monitoring all COVID-related updates and that the whole city of Baltimore is so excited to welcome the Elks in July and will do all they can to work through any disruptions during this time.  They thank us for our partnership and hard work and can’t wait to see everyone in a few months!
 
Here is a statement from Hilton Properties, “As the situation around COVID-19 continues to rapidly unfold, the global economy finds itself in an unprecedented business environment. The appropriate social distancing recommendations from public health authorities that are designed to flatten the curve have led to a sharp decrease in travel, which in turn has impacted occupancy levels at hotels in different ways.  Hilton properties continue to assess staffing needs based on a forward view of bookings and the local business environment. As a result, some of our hotel owners are selecting to temporarily suspend operations until macroeconomic conditions stabilize. “
 
With all this  in mind we need to continue to plan for the convention. At this time I am aware of the Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor taking these actions,  but feel we will see more of this from the other hotels as time goes on. I’ve asked Visit Baltimore to keep me updated on these changes as they develop.  It is strongly recommend you reach out to your hotels to obtain any information still needed by them to complete the planning process in their absence and see what would be the best practice for the room reservations moving forward.  With this unprecedented environment the hotels are planning on working with us toward a successful convention in Baltimore.
 
Please let me know if you have any issues with getting in contact with your hotel or need help in coordinating a plan of action with the hotel. The national convention office is still open and continues to plan the Convention.
 
We all need to keep in mind that the health of our members, spouses, significant others and friends is paramount. Let's be vigilant in our efforts to keep one another healthy!
 
This update will be sent on a weekly bases. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out.
 
Respectfully,
 
Tina M Haran
 
Convention & Meetings Director
 
B.P.O. Elks, USA
 
773-755-4838March 17, 2020

 

A message from SDGER Richard M. Palanzo:

Good Morning:
 
Governor Lamont's Executive Order 7D,  clearly curtails the social quarters operations (bar and food service) in our Elks Lodges. There is also a limit on the number of members allowed to congregate (50) at any one time.
 
The following is an direct excerpt from E.O. 7D as it relates to this curtailment of our social quarters:
 
     "2. Limits on Restaurant, Bar and Private Club Operations. Effective at 8 p.m. on March 16, 2020 and through April 30, 2020, unless   earlier modified, extended, or terminated by me, any restaurant or eating establishment and any location licensed for on-premise consumption of alcoholic liquor in the State of Connecticut, except for Class III and Class II Tribal Gaming enterprises, shall only serve food or non-alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption. ..."
 
As of March 17, 2020 at 12:00 noon,  this E.O. does not curtail the conduct of Elks business, (Lodge or committee meetings) of less than 50 persons. Good Housekeeping practices to keep the Lodge building sanitized and social distancing should be practiced. If this information or E.O. changes I will endeavor to update you. 
 
Be Safe, act with the best interests of all concerned in mind.
 
Fraternally yours,
 
Rick
 
Richard M. Palanzo
SDGER/CT