Couples are keen to wed despite epidemic
Several marriage registration centers in Shanghai are fully booked for Friday, Valentine's Day, despite the novel coronavirus pneumonia, and authorities have introduced staggered registration to prevent too many people gathering together.
The marriage registration center in Jiading District prepared 50 slots for Friday, and all have been reserved.
In Minhang District, all its vacancies had been booked as of Thursday afternoon.
Yangpu District has arranged 30 slots for Friday afternoon, with only four left.
"The reservation aims to guide lovebirds to register at different times, and we control the registration number to several couples per hour," the director of the center surnamed Wu told Shanghai Daily.
"Everybody must have their body temperature measured before allowed in, and we will make a thorough disinfection on Friday morning," she said.
"We telephoned each couple, trying to persuade them to delay the registration amid the outbreak, or at least not bring too many family members," said Wu. "Most insisted on registration on the day while they said they understood the situation and would visit at fixed reservation times and not bring family members.
"It is a special Valentine's Day, but we will send our best wishes to couples as usual," she said.
Marriage reservation numbers and times should be "scientifically" set and balanced, and the public should be guided to avoid registration during peak outbreak periods, according to a notice issued by the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
Services such as marriage certificate issuing ceremonies and family counseling at registration centers have been halted, according to the notice.
The Changning and Jiading districts' marriage registration centers have banned companions' entrance except for the disabled or seniors.
Their halls for marriage certificate issuing ceremonies have been closed.
At the Huangpu District marriage registration center, disinfection frequency has been stepped up, and services such as group certificate presentation ceremonies, and law and family consultations have been halted.