No Defence Force Honour Guard as Covid measures in place for ceremonial opening of Parliament

No Defence Force Honour Guard as Covid measures in place for ceremonial opening of Parliament

Expect a few changes for the ceremonial opening of the 12th sitting of Parliament on Friday.

In a release from Parliament’s communications unit, the ceremonial opening of the first session of the 12th Parliament will be held at 10.30 am at the Red House with Covid-19 preventative measures in effect.

For starters, there will be no Defence Force honour guard to mark the occasion.

Appropriate physical distancing measures will be in place as Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate take their oaths of office and a Speaker, deputy Speaker, senate President and vice president will be elected.

President Paula-Mae Weekes will address both Houses together in the House Chamber.

MPs, parliamentary staff and members of the media must wear a facemask of a dark colour at all times while in the Parliament complex.

The release from Parliament said covid19 restrictions instituted for sittings of the 11th Parliament will continue to be observed. These include social distancing measures for MPs: some members will be seated in the chambers while others will be seated in meeting rooms throughout the parliamentary complex with access to television screens to view the proceedings.
If a vote is called for, those members not in the chamber will be allowed a few minutes to get there to vote, then return to their meeting rooms.

Members of the public will not be given access to the Parliament and are asked to tune in to sittings and committee meetings on the Parliament Channel, Parliament Radio 105.5 FM or via the YouTube Channel ParlView.

Following the ceremony, the House is likely to debate an amendment to the Public Health Ordinance to make wearing face masks mandatory as part of the country’s fight against the spread of Covid19.