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Registration offices, appointments and ceremonies: coronavirus updates

Updated on 31 March 2020

In this time of rapid change and uncertainty we are doing our best to manage an unprecedented number of calls and emails about ceremony bookings. Following the government announcement on 23 March 2020 on further measures being taken to reduce the spread of coronavirus, we will no longer be attending ceremonies.

We appreciate that you may have concerns about how the Government’s fast changing response to the coronavirus may affect your ceremony or registration appointment. Please read the information below before getting in touch.

Registration offices, closures and appointments

All registration offices are closed to the public until further notice.

Registering a death

From 31 March 2020 death registrations will be carried out remotely via telephone. You will not attend a registration office to complete the appointment. This is to ensure we meet social distancing guidelines and minimise the risk to both customers and registrars. 

Death registration appointments can only be booked by calling Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020. A member of the customer services team will book you a timeslot and let you know which office the registrar will be calling from and explain what you need to do with the Medical Cause of Death certificate, if you have already collected it.

To complete the appointment, you will need to provide the registrar with the following information:

  • Date and place of death
  • Full name of the person who has died, and any previous or maiden names where appropriate
  • Date and place of birth of the person who has died
  • Occupation (prior to retirement if applicable) and usual address of the person who has died
  • If the person who has died was married or in a civil partnership, the full names, date of birth and occupation of their spouse or civil partner
  • If the person who has died was still married or in a civil partnership, the date of birth of their widow, widower or surviving civil partner
  • Your name and address
  • If the deceased was receiving any pension or allowance from public funds, other than a state pension from public funds, please tell the registrar

The registrar will phone you at the time of appointment. Please ensure you are ready for the call with the above information gathered and your phone on loud. The appointment should last around 30 minutes. 

You can purchase death certificates from the registrar during your appointment (debit/credit card only). The certificates will be sent in the post following the appointment. 

If you have a death registration booked already, we will contact you to discuss the new arrangement.

Registering a birth

The government has asked all local authorities to defer birth appointments until we are through the current pandemic period. We will update this page when we can start registering births again.

You will be able to make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered during this period.

Notice of marriage or civil partnership appointments

For existing notice bookings:

New guidance from the General Register Office means we will be deferring some notice appointments as the government now requires people to stay at home except for very limited purposes. We will be in contact with you if this affects you. We are working through appointments in date order starting from 25 March, so please bear with us – we will get to you. Due to the high volume of calls and emails we may not be able to reply to you if you contact us first.

For ceremonies 1 July onwards, and you haven’t given notice:

If your ceremony is planned for a date in July or beyond and you haven’t given your Notice yet, then we’re sorry we aren’t offering notice appointments for these ceremonies for the time being. We will do our best to contact couples in this category, at least 2 months ahead of your planned ceremony date.

Ceremonies

Key points for all our couples:

  • From 23 March 2020, ceremonies are suspended and will not resume until the government lift restrictions
  • No couple will lose any monies that you have already paid, these will be transferred over to a fresh booking
  • There is currently no fee for changing your ceremony date
  • We have stopped taking all non-urgent new ceremony bookings until further notice
  • We have stopped taking bookings for Ask a Celebrant appointments
  • We are honouring this year’s prices for ceremonies that are moved to next year, at this time
  • Current legislation around ceremonies has not changed at this time, therefore if you gave notice to get married in one venue, we cannot legally at this time move you to another venue for a legal ceremony without a fresh notice.

Suspension of ceremonies

From 23 March 2020, and until we are advised that it is safe to do so, we will not be conducting any ceremonies in Norfolk. This includes ceremonies at approved venues and in our registration offices.

These restrictions will be in place for at least 3 weeks. All ceremonies in this period will be rearranged or postponed and we are contacting all couples who have ceremonies booked in date order.

We will also be contacting all couples who have ceremonies booked after this date, prioritising those most immediately affected. This is to understand and address any concerns you might have.

It is up to an individual couple if they want to change, postpone or cancel their ceremony if it doesn’t fall in the current 3-week period set out by the Government. Couples will be aware that there is much uncertainty at this time and we are sorry that we cannot guarantee that ceremonies after this period won’t be affected.

If your ceremony is in one of our registration offices or ceremony rooms, our team will be contacting you directly to discuss. They are working in chronological order so bear with us and we will contact you in due course.

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