This month saw the country establish a "new normal", with queues at supermarkets, shortages of some essentials such as toilet paper and pasta, and the inability to do some of the things that we have taken for granted all our lives such as visiting a restaurant and bar or even having a haircut. Some people started wearing masks, but there was a shortage of those as well, and a reluctance by many to wear them. The news was full of information about the Covid-19 virus, its spread around the world and in the UK, and the sad number of deaths which were increasing at an alarming rate. The message from the Government was to "stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives". The capacity of the NHS to cope with the outbreak was the main focus of the Government. New hospitals were miraculously commissioned and developed very successfully and very quickly. This gave the country the resilience it required in the event of a huge increase in numbers contracting the virus. The big news stories this month were the hospitalisation of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, with Covid-19, and of course, the amazing story of 100 year old war veteran Sir Tom Moore who raised over £30 million for the NHS.
In the city, once again all events were cancelled. This included the Lord Mayor's Big Curry Lunch, the Plumbers Masters and Clerks luncheon, the Fan Makers afternoon tea, lunch with the Mistress Mariner on the HQS Wellington and a tour of Hampton Court with the Royal School of Needlework.
However, we persisted with our online meetings and gradually began to become more and more proficient with them. My weekly Zoom meetings with the Acting Clerk and Wardens continued and this made us think long and hard about how we might be able to use virtual meetings in the future to enable more people to participate and contribute to the work of our Worshipful Company. We held our first virtual interview for a new candidate for the Company, which again seemed to go very well. The first major test of the virtual meetings was the holding of the finance and communications committees. To our surprise and delight, all went extremely well with both agendas being covered in their entirety and all participants being able to make contributions fully and clearly. The new normal certainly seems to be working for the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers.