The novel 'COVID-19' coronavirus has forced many restrictions around the world, urging people to stay at home. This in turn made many gatherings, events and routine tasks to be postponed.
However, there are things which cannot simply be put off, even in the times of coronavirus.
One of which, is marriage. The moment for many people in Indonesia is considered a once-in-a-lifetime event. With sacred ceremony to include guests from families, friends, and colleagues, marriage in Indonesia is nothing to be taken lightly, considering the length of the preparation.
This is why the archipelago country in the Southeast Asia is opening online marriage registrations since public service workers have been ordered to work from home as part of measures to slow the spread of the virus.
In a statement, Kamaruddin Amin, an official from the Ministry of Religion, said that marriage registrations shall continue, despite the closure of public service offices.
The service, however, is only meant to accept couples who applied for registration before the enforcement of remote working policy.
Previously, Irra Chorina Octora and her Turkish partner Yavuz Ozdemir swapped vows at al-Akbar mosque in Surabaya, with the couple wearing face masks and kept their distance throughout the ceremony,
This was to comply with strict rules imposed by the authorities, who have banned mass gatherings including weddings, but allowed some exceptions for marriages booked before the pandemic began.
Virus precautions at the event include having only a maximum of 25 people, temperature checks at the entrance and hand sanitizers available throughout the venue.
Wedding ceremony and party that usually can take hours from start to finish, was wrapped up in just 30 minutes.
The only hint of physical intimacy came when Yavuz, whom Irra first met on social media, briefly took off his mask off so Irra can give him a piece of the wedding cake.
Irra said she was still happy with the wedding despite the restrictions.
“We were worried that if we stuck to March 29 for the vows, things might have happened and we would not have been able to marry in the end,” said the happy bride.
As of March 31, the coronavirus has infected 1,528 people and killed 136, according to Indonesia's health authority.
Indonesia has placed measures, like the closure of government offices, shutting down schools and entertainment centers, as well as restricting travels to prevent the rise of infections.
The government isn't at all advising couples to hold marriage ceremony during the pandemic, with Amin calling on couples intending to get married to at least consider re-planning their wedding ceremonies. This is line with the government's efforts to implement social distancing.
"If possible, the wedding ceremonies need to be rescheduled... to be held in a better conditions and circumstances," he said.
But still, some couples may not or cannot reschedule their marriage for whatever reason.
And this is why the couples who have previously registered themselves before the pandemic can contact the online marriage registration.