With just a matter of days until the Twelfth of July, the Orange Institution is reminding all its members, supporters and spectators of the need to respect the Health Guidelines currently in place.
As the Institution prepares to mark the 331st anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne with around 100 parades, it says it is conscious of the threat that Covid-19 and its variants pose, particularly through Community Transmission.
Therefore, organisers are making an appeal to everyone participating in, or planning to attend the Twelfth celebrations, to adhere to the recommendations around public health.
‘Jabbed for the 12th’
A spokesperson said, "All Orangemen, but especially our younger Brethren, Sisters and Bandsmen, are encouraged to get vaccinated for the big day.
"There is still time to have your first vaccination before parading or spectating on the Twelfth of July.
"Location of various mobile and static vaccinations points can be found online via social media or the website www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/northern-ireland-covid-19-vaccination-programme/mobile-vaccination-clinics"
‘Tested on the 11th’
The spokesperson added that Grand Lodge Headquarters at Schomberg House, Belfast, now has a supply of Lateral Flow Test kits to distribute to individuals, Lodges or Bands.
"This test is for use by those who are currently not displaying symptoms of Covid-19 infection," continued the spokesperson.
"It is simple to use and produces a result within 30 minutes. The test should be taken no more than 24 hours ahead of the Twelfth.
"Anyone with symptoms of Covid, or who tests positive, must not participate in or attend a parade and should proceed to have a full test carried out a designated testing centre."
‘Socially Distanced Spectator’
"If planning to watch a parade, please be a ‘Socially Distanced Spectator’," their statement continued.
"The routes of local parades can be found on social media or on the web. Please pick your viewing position away from traditional gathering points so as to avoid the risk of community transmission.
"Please do not follow or walk alongside a Lodge or Band," added the spokesperson.
Grand Lodge Secretary Rev. Mervyn Gibson, who himself is currently recovering from several recent health issues, said it was extremely important for everyone to play their part in sharing and following advice around Covid 19 measures.
Rev. Gibson stressed the strongest appeal was for people, even in the few days remaining, to get vaccinated for the Twelfth.
He said: “The Institution wants everyone to enjoy the Twelfth, but also to look after each other’s health. Whether that is simply wearing a face covering, or regularly using hand sanitiser on the day, everyone has a part to play.”