WEDDING ceremonies have been suspended by the Government as the country tackles the coronavirus pandemic.

Both North Yorkshire and Lancashire county councils have also suspended appointments to register births and is asking people to register deaths over the phone.

The wedding suspension will be reviewed in three weeks’ time by the Government and the service will contact all couples affected, giving priority to those who have the most imminent ceremonies.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Greg White, Executive member for customer engagement, said: “We realise people will be disappointed at having to postpone their wedding plans, but we are also sure that they and their guests will understand just how important it is for all of us to heed the directive to stay at home as we all play our part in tackling the Covid-19 outbreak.”

For existing bookings that are postponed or cancelled, revised dates will be accepted from the beginning of September, while any new bookings will be allowed from the start of January, next year.

North Yorkshire says it can not say when appointments to register births will resume, but new parents will be able to claim for child benefit or universal credit before births are registered.

The council says as its offices are closed - including Belle Vue Mills, Skipton - the registration of deaths must be made over the telephone.

Once an emailed medical certificate of cause of death has been sent by a doctor, a telephone appointment can be made after which, necessary forms for the undertaker and a formal death certificate will be sent in the post.

People in North Yorkshire who have a paper copy of the medical certificate from the doctor, can drop the envelope through a letter box at the Skipton offices or email it to:

In Lancashire, all ceremonies have been postponed for the foreseeable future. The council says it is in the process of contacting everyone who has booked from now and into the summer and is unable to take any new bookings at this time.

It has also started a new process for registering deaths over the telephone, even if the cause of death is not due to the coronavirus.

The medical practitioner certifying the death will now electronically transfer the death certificate to the registration service who will then call the family to arrange a suitable time to register the death over the telephone.

Steve Lloyd, Lancashire County Council registration service manager, said: “It’s vital that we now move to registering deaths by telephone to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by minimising the need for people to have face to face contact.”