In coronavirus-hit New York, couples can now get married online

Governor’s order allows people to get marriage licence remotely and clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference.

Couples and their friends and families wait in a long line to enter the New York City Marriage Bureau on Valentine''s Day in New York, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
With the new rule, couples will not have to attend the marriage office in person to get their licence but will be able to apply remotely [Seth Wenig/AP]

If you live in New York, there is now one more thing you can do online: get married.

“I am issuing an Executive Order allowing New Yorkers to obtain a marriage license remotely and allowing clerks to perform ceremonies via video conference,” Andrew Cuomo, New York state governor, wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

With more than 13,000 coronavirus-related deaths, New York state is the epicentre of the pandemic in the United States.

Many marriage bureaus have been shut because of the health emergency, leaving couples unable to get licences because the state requires at least one of the partners to complete their application in person.

But Cuomo is ordering that provision waived to let couples apply remotely, his office said on Saturday. The state will also enable town and city clerks to conduct weddings by video.

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“There is now no excuse when the question comes up for marriage. No excuse. You can do it by Zoom. Yes or no,” the governor said, with a smile.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Cuomo said 507 people had died the previous day, down 43 from Friday and by 271 since last Monday. Other indicators were going in the right direction, the governor added. Hospitalisations were down by more than 750, to 16,213. 

“If the data holds and if this trend holds, we are past the high point, and all indications at this point are that we are on a descent,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing. However, he warned that New York would not return quickly to pre-pandemic conditions.

“The beast is still alive and the beast can rise up again,” he said, cautioning against easing lockdown measures too soon.

Family members are seen on a computer screen showing video conference as the bride Ugi Lestari Widya Bahri prays in the backround, during a wedding ceremony which streamed online amid the spread of co
Family members during a video conference as a bride prays in the background, during a wedding ceremony in Indonesia [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

With physical distancing widely recognised as one of the most effective measures against the coronavirus, events involving crowds such as weddings were among the first to be banned as countries scrambled to contain the spread of the pathogen. However, various governments across the world allowed the virtual version of the ceremony. 

Indonesia has opened online registrations since public service workers were ordered to work from home in late March.

The service, however, is only for couples who were married and applied for registration before the enforcement of the remote working policy.

The same applies in the United Arab Emirates, where an an online marriage service was launched last week allowing couples to get married amid restrictions on movement.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies