Sri Lanka permits marriage registration with minimum participation amid wedding ban

Despite a countrywide ban on weddings in Sri Lanka starting midnight Tuesday (17) amid surging COVID-19 cases, marriage registration will be permitted with minimal participation, police said.

Police spokesman Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) Ajith Rohana said on Monday (16) that marriage registration may take place with the participation of the bride and groom, the registrar, the couple’s parents and two witnesses only.

Sri Lanka has imposed curfew from 10pmp to 4am starting Monday (16), in light of surging COVID-19 deaths and daily cases, some of which are attributed to the fast-spreading delta variant.

There has been a travel ban between provinces since May 21, but following an emergency meeting at the presidential secretariat last Friday (13), the government decided to further tighten the provincial travel ban rather than go for a stricter lockdown, ignoring calls from a number of medical experts.

The police spokesman said, however, that crossing provinces will be allowed in the event of an emergency.

Rohana said police have received complaints of private bus operators transporting passengers to provincial borders where they are dropped off and cross the province on foot to board buses operating within the province they intend to travel to.

“W e will take such buses into custody and arrest  bus owners as well as drivers and conductors who support such actions,” Rohana said.

“So far 253 people have been arrested for breaking quarantine law and police teams deployed in 12 points of provincial borders have checked 2,411 people in 1,220 vehicles, and 479 people with 361 vehicles have been turned back,” he said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Transportation Board (SLTB) Chairman Kingsly Ranawaka told reporters that all long distance busses have been halted until further notice.

“Provincial busses will also be reduced and will only be available at rush hour to transport essential workers. SLTB only calls 50 percent of total employees to report to work,” Ranawaka said.

General Superintendent of the Sri lanka Railway Department Dhammika Jayasundara said all long distance trains have been suspended with provincial travel restrictions taking place.

“We have 24 train trips on the main line, 10 train trips on the Puttalam line, 21 train trips on the coastal line and eight trips on the Kelaniweli route” Jayasundara said.

Meanwhile, State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal told the privately owned Derana network that going for a total lockdown could adversely affect daily wage earners and difficulties for the government will arise in paying compensation and salaries of government workers.

“We have 1.7 million government workers, 600,000 pension earners, 1.8 million under Samurdhi and 4.5 million who are small and medium entrepreneurs who run on daily income,” Cabraal said.

“We need to look at these people as well and their incomes. As a government we must be able to do both simultaneously,” he said.

Asked to explain the 10pm to 4am curfew, Cabraal explained the logic as trying to prevent people from gathering and going to restaurants and such after work.

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