Orange Institution makes Health Appeal ahead of the Twelfth Celebrations
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 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 Twelfthcelebrations, to adhere to the recommendations around public health.
‘Jabbed for the 12th’
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:
‘Tested on the 11th’
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. 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’. 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.
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.”
Parades Across County Down.
Enjoy a Twelfth near you
The 331st anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne will be marked at around 100 locations on Monday, the 12th of July, in what is one of the major highlights of Northern Ireland’s CentenNIal year.
With just a couple of days to go, the Orange Institution has confirmed that the public will be able to enjoy the traditional sights and sounds of the Twelfth of July demonstrations closer to home as localised parades are set to take centre stage.
For 2021, the normal 18 main demonstrations have been replaced by more than 100 local parades as the Orange Family continues to play a positive role in the fight against Covid-19.
Over the last 18 months, lodges, bands and their friends and family have worked throughout local communities to support the NHS and key workers, help those living in isolation and ensure the spread of Covid-19 was curtailed as best as possible.
With the current Covid-19 health guidelines limiting events to 500 participants, organising smaller parades was the best way to ensure the demonstrations went ahead.
Confirming this year’s plans, Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson said he was certain all members of the Orange Family would be delighted to be parading in Northern Ireland’s Centenary year.
“We have endured a difficult 18 months, having cancelled our meetings and parades, for the good of all in the community,” he said.
“Last year it was the ‘Twelfth at Home’ but thankfully this year, with the restrictions suitably eased, we are in a position to have District parades right across Northern Ireland.
“These smaller demonstrations will help reduce crowds, remove the need for travelling long distances to see a parade and ensure that we as an Institution continue to put the safety of everyone to the fore.
“This is for one year only and we are focussed on having our traditional Twelfth of July celebrations in 2022.”
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland is calling on everyone planning to attend a parade to respect the Covid-19 guidelines.
Spectators are advised to choose one parade to attend, avoid standing in crowds or walking alongside the parade, and be sure to wear face coverings when appropriate.
The Grand Master added: “We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Twelfth of July and the best way to do that is to look after yourself and others by respecting the health advice.”