Coronavirus: Demand for marriage licenses, ceremonies doubles in Orange County amid pandemic, official says

The Clerk-Recorder says his office was among the first in U.S. to offer civil marriage ceremonies and marriage licenses while practicing physical distancing last month.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Tying the knot during a COVID-19 pandemic meant masks for the bride and groom in Orange County on Friday.

County staff were protected inside what used to be ticket booths in the parking lot of the Honda Center in Anaheim.

"It wasn't what I imagined it to be but ... we got to work with what we have during a pandemic," said Janet and Lui De Luna of Pomona.

The Orange County Clerk-Recorder Hugh Nguyen says his office was among the first in the U.S. to begin offering civil marriage ceremonies and marriage licenses, while practicing physical distancing, beginning back in mid-April.

"The first day we had 10,000 phone calls," said Nguyen. "The demand has been overwhelming."

Nguyen says the demand has more than doubled, now handling more than 130 appointments a day. Couples from more than 25 states had previously planned weddings cancelled by stay-at-home orders.

"We were supposed to marry April 10th in Vegas but unfortunately everything got cancelled," said Letrice Segovia of Long Beach.

There are restrictions for ceremonies: only the couple and one witness are allowed. It's also by appointment only.

And soon another option will become available. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order this week to allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing.

Nguyen says his office is now working on guidelines for that as they continue to offer in-person services.

The clerk recorder say they still have appointments available from May 21 to May 29, and they may extend that if there's demand.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.