Azerbaijan lifts ban on weddings but restrictions still apply
16 months after the introduction of a ban on public events amid the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, Azerbaijan allowed holding weddings and other family events, however, the number of guests will be limited and they all guest will be required to possess a Covid passport.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan has allowed weddings and other mass celebrations from July 1, 2021, but with some serious reservations.
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Celebrating weddings amid Covid pandemic
The number of guests at weddings, engagement parties, birthdays, and other celebrations should not exceed 150 people. At the same time, the owner of the celebration house is obliged to determine the maximum number of participants in the ceremony (not exceeding the limit of 150 people), taking into account the area of each hall intended for holding mass events.
All guests over 18 attending the wedding are required to have a COVID passport – an electronic certificate that is issued to everyone who has received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine or has had this infection in the past six months.
Wearing of a medical mask and gloves is optional for wedding guests. But this is a prerequisite for all service personnel, except for musicians. In addition, musicians and waiters must also possess a Covid passport.
At least five days before the appointed date of the wedding, the owner of the celebration house is obliged to enter all information about the upcoming ceremony in a special state portal. Here they must indicate the capacity of the hall, the time of the beginning and end (no later than midnight) of the wedding and the number of guests attending.
In addition, the owner of the celebration house must sign, together with the wedding organizer, a document of commitment stating joint responsibility for the ceremony.
It is indicated that holding weddings in violation of these conditions is prohibited and entails administrative responsibility. The function of monitoring compliance with the rules during weddings is entrusted to three state structures at once – the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Food Safety Agency and the Tax Service.
Weddings with less than 50 guests
If the number of guests does not exceed 50 people, the participants of the event do not need to have a Covid passport, however, they will be required to wear medical masks.
At the same time, filling in all the documents specified in the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers is also mandatory for small events.
Covid passport will become mandatory from August 1
From July 1, 2021, at least 80% of workers in the service sector in Azerbaijan must be vaccinated with the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine or have an immunity certificate.
The immunity certificate is issued to persons who have had a COVID-19 infection in the last six months. After the date indicated on the certificate, these persons must be vaccinated. The Covid passport itself does not have an “expiration date”.
From August 1, 2021, at least 80% of employees of the service sector will be required to obtain a Covid passport.
Only 10% of the population is fully vaccinated
According to official data as of June 21, 2021, only 10.4% of the population in Azerbaijan has been vaccinated with both doses of the coronavirus vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine was received by 19.5%of the country’s citizens.
Currently, four types of coronavirus vaccines are available in Azerbaijan.
The Chinese-made CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccine is massively used in all clinics in the country.
Persons over 60 years of age can also receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Anyone over 18 years of age can apply to private clinics for free vaccinations with Sputnik V and Pfizer.
Social media reaction
Immediately after the publication of the new decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, heated discussions of new rules for holding weddings began on the Azerbaijani segment of social media.
Here are some typical comments:
“The following correspondence will become common soon: I invite you to my son’s wedding – I would be happy to, but I don’t have a Covid passport”.
“It’s easier to just register the marriage in order not to complicate your life like that”.
“What if I take another person’s Covid passport and go? Are they going to check everyone’s certificates? “
One of the users posted a photo of the coach of the Turkish national football team, Chenol Gunes with the caption “When you are trying to reduce the number of invitees to 150 people”.