Bulletin No 7

BULLETIN NO 7

Worshipful Company of Firefighters – COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

Message from the Chair of the Emergency Strategic Coordination Board

Dear Liveryman and Freeman,

I write to you as Chair of the Emergency Strategic Coordination Board (ESCB) to personally
inform you of the position that the Company, (similar to many other Livery Companies and
organisations), finds itself, following the recent continuing significant rise in Coronavirus
cases across some areas of the UK (including parts of England) and which has been followed
by additional measures by HM Government in an attempt to arrest the continuing daily
upward trend.

I am also aware of the increasing numbers of confirmed cases now appearing in London and
the Mayor of London’s plan (representing all London Boroughs and the City of London) for
introducing additional measures in an attempt to hold or reduce the current infection rate
across the capital. This has included the cancellation of The Lord Mayor’s Show in November for the first time since 1852, along with most City of London and Livery Events for the foreseeable future. The predictions now circulating in the City are that there is unlikely to be a return to any large scale Livery activity worthy of note until Easter 2021, and that will be dependent on the outcome of the autumn and winter as far as Coronavirus and its effects amongst the population is concerned.

At our on-line meeting on the 16th September 2020 the ESCB considered at some length the
need to extend the period of ESCB beyond October 2020 as the incidence of Coronavirus
infection began to rise, despite the fact then in a total population of the UK approaching 67
million that the infection rate remains low and concentrated in areas of dense population,
several generations living in one household, people living in shared accommodation and
unfortunately some elements of the population not adhering to “Social Distancing” and
Hygiene requirements. The sharp rise in infections last week, following which the Prime
Minister indicated that the new minimum English restrictions will probably last six months,
has required ESCB to revisit the length of its operation.

ESCB Members remain committed to returning the Company to normal business (whatever
may emerge) as soon as practically possible. However, the key principles of that return set
out in the first Bulletin remain as:

  • The safety and well-being of all Company members and employees remains
    paramount.
  • A return to normal business and resumption of Company Functions and Meetings
    must be safe for all Members to attend without discrimination including travelling to
    and from nominated venues.
  • The Clerk will continue to work from home until it is considered either safe through
    HM Government guidance or a COVID Compliant Office within Wax Chandlers’
    premises.

To ensure that the Company continues to be managed and monitored safely during these
unprecedented times ESCB will continue to operate as currently until 31st March 2021. Should the situation change in England and restrictions are eased sufficiently or removed, then ESCB will implement a suitable return date for a new type of normal business although this looks unlikely in the foreseeable future.

The Membership can remain assured that the management, interests, reputation and
integrity of the Company will continue to be maintained during this extended period and
once we return to the new normal business whatever may emerge we will be definitely in a
good position to move forward without a back-log of issues to deal with as it is inevitable a
period of planning and consideration for a difficult immediate future for all of the Livery
movement is now inevitable and this may well consume some considerable effort and time
of all the established Committees and Court at the beginning of the new normal
arrangements.

Regular communication and the well-being of the Membership remains the most important
priority. The next update Newsletter will follow this “one item” communication in mid-October. ESCB is currently considering a number of differing member on-line communication forums which will allow members to communicate with each other on-line, conscious that some of our members live alone. These are currently in the early stages of planning and discussion so watch out for further details in future Bulletins

Conscious that ESCB has now been in operation for six months, having successfully completed some necessary important business, and with Standing Orders remaining suspended, I intend to write personally to all Court Members and those who can attend Court before the end of October 2020 to set out what has been achieved in the last six months, what is currently being considered and similarly on financial matters to Members of the Finance Committee.

In the meantime on behalf of all of ESCB we hope that you, your family and friends remain
safe and well during this extended difficult and unpredictable period.

Yours sincerely


Graham Maltby
Upper Warden and Chair of the Emergency Strategic Coordination Board