New rules to take affect for weddings and funerals in Birmingham
Following new Government guidance, Birmingham City Council will be reopening the Birmingham Register Office so that marriage and civil partnership ceremonies may commence from Saturday 4 July.
The maximum number of individuals permitted at any ceremony will be 30. However, due to the size of the rooms, Birmingham Register Office is able to accommodate up to a maximum of 29 people. This will consist of the couple, two witnesses, the two registration employees, 22 guests and a photographer.
Extensive measures have been taken to ensure that the venue is COVID-19 secure. As such, individuals will be admitted on the basis they observe the safety measures which will include, the wearing of a face mask during the ceremony or formation, use of hand sanitisers on entering the ceremony suite, and prior to and after signing the register and exchanging rings and use of a separate pen when signing the register.
Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods said, “I’m absolutely delighted that we will be able to start seeing marriages, civil partnerships and citizen ceremonies go ahead. While this is just one step of many in getting us back on track to normal life, I hope it will mean a huge difference to the 345 couples who have had to postpone their weddings due to the lockdown. I would also like to wish our first two couples that are due to be wed this Saturday congratulations and the best of luck.”
In addition to weddings recommencing, the council has also reviewed measures that were put in place around the attendance of funerals. Following the relaxation of lockdown measures nationally and a decrease in the number of funerals taking place in Birmingham, the number of mourners allowed in attendance will increase from 16 to 30 people. This too will take effect from Saturday 4 July 2020.
Cllr Thompson said, “When we first put a restriction on the number of mourners allowed to attend funerals, we said that we would continue to review the safety measures we felt were necessary.
“Knowing the impact this has on the families of the bereaved, the current level of spread of the virus and the number of funerals we are having to accommodate, I am pleased we have been able to more than double the number of people we are allowing to attend.
“The safety of our residents and staff has always been our first and foremost concern and it makes me pleased that, in a very small way, we can lessen the burden and anxiety when it comes to funerals.”
While changes have been made to both bereavement and registration services, the situation will continue to be constantly reviewed. Should local restrictions be introduced by Government, this may again change to reflect the measures needed to keep residents safe.