June saw the gradual easing of the lockdown, albeit with some very confusing messages from the Government. Some Primary Schools were allowed to reopen but these had highly variable levels of attendance. There was some confusion around overseas travel with the threat to force almost all arrivals to the UK to self isolate, but this was soon relaxed. Additionally, the wearing of face masks was made compulsory for travel on public transport in England and non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen. The UK's Coronavirus alert level was downgraded from four to three, meaning the virus remains in general circulation but transmission is no longer "high or rising exponentially."
The really big news in June were the mass rallies and anti-racism protests across the UK following the death of George Floyd.
In the city, once again all events were cancelled, including the Consort's visit to the Royal Opera House. The Masters' Ironbridge Livery Weekend was due to be held in the first weekend of June, but unfortunately this was also cancelled. Instead, we held the first virtual Ironbridge Livery meeting, which was very well attended. This allowed us to form our Past Masters' Association, aptly entitled The Zoomers. I was happy to be invited to a virtual "tea and biscuits" session with the Lord Mayor, which I found most enjoyable.
Our long awaited and carefully planned trip to St. Kitts was yet another casualty of the virus, much to the regret of the 30 people who were eagerly looking forward to spending 10 days in the Caribbean sunshine! Never mind, hopefully we will be able to do it in 2021 and have even more fun.
We continued to hold many committee meetings virtually, including the Charity Trustees' Committee, the Strategic Review Sub-Committees, the Recruitment Sub-Committee, the Treasures Committee and the Wine Committee. Additionally, we had our first virtual Court meeting this month, another milestone in the 600 year history of our Company. I am glad to report that all went really well, everyone managing to get online and to use the software very proficiently. We covered a lot of business, including the proposals for the extension of my year as Master, for which I continue to be very grateful to the Company, the composition of the Court for the year 2020/21, the Company finances, reports from all the committee chairmen, an update on the progress of the strategic review, and the position of the Learned Clerk. It does appear from the feedback that the meeting was well received by all who attended, with everyone getting the opportunity to have their say. So, all in all, a good successful meeting. Having said that, there is still nothing to beat a face to face meeting, which I hope we can get back to in the not too distant future.