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Civil marriages at Hamilton City Hall are all the rage during COVID-19

Since late August, 58 civil marriage ceremonies have been performed at Hamilton City Hall, with another 61 scheduled or being booked.
Since late August, 58 civil marriage ceremonies have been performed at Hamilton City Hall, with another 61 scheduled or being booked. Will Erskine / Global News

A decision to start offering civil marriage ceremonies at Hamilton City Hall in 2020 appears to have been well-timed.

The city confirms that, on average, the clerk’s department has been performing more than a ceremony each business day since Aug. 24.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says COVID-19 is clearly boosting the numbers.

Read more: Here’s what to expect as city halls are open in the Hamilton-Niagara region

Eisenberger says the ceremony is an option for people “wanting to get married in a safe and expeditious way given the pandemic and everything that’s going on and their inability to have a grand event.”

“Most of them are anxious to do their ceremony, and are saving that grand event for some later date,” he added.

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Since Aug. 24, 58 civil marriage ceremonies have been performed at Hamilton City Hall, with another 52 scheduled before the end of the year and nine more still to be booked.

Read more: Coronavirus — Expert says weddings remain ‘high-risk’ events as restrictions loosen

In February, prior to COVID-19, city council voted to start offering the service at a cost of $339.

The city clerk was to have started performing to ceremonies in April, but the closure of city hall during Phase 1 of the pandemic delayed the launch date.

Eisenberger adds that “virtually every day,” he can watch a ceremony in progress from the side window of his office.

“It’s been a pretty regular schedule,” he said, calling it a “good news story during the course of a sad, challenging 2020.”

The civil marriage ceremonies and vow renewals are being conducted in keeping with public health guidelines, including limits on the size of gatherings, wearing of masks and physical distancing.

They are offered by appointment only, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.