The effect of the Corona Virus on the Lieutenancy
The Corona Virus has made a major difference to the activities of the Lieutenancy in the period from the beginning of March 2020 until the autumn of 2021. As would be expected almost all the events to which the Lord Lieutenant would normally be invited were cancelled or postponed. These included the garden parties, honours presentation ceremonies, new citizen ceremonies, 21 gun salutes & of course, Royal visits! The 1 exception was that many of the services on Remembrance Sunday in November 2020. did go ahead, although in a very restricted and safe manner. There were a few new citizen ceremonies held at the Lagan Valley Centre in Lisburn in the summer of 2020 but later they became Zoom ceremonies, initially with 1 person at a time but later with up to 15 new citizens attending a ceremony.
Each Lord Lieutenant has the use of a cadet drawn from the army, navy or air force but because of the restrictions the cadet appointed in March 2020 still hasn't been able to perform any duties and has not even been able to meet the Lord Lieutenant. The better news is that the cadet appointed in March 2021 has been able to attend a number of events & should be quite busy from now on.
All the Buckingham Palace Garden Parties & the Hillsborough Garden Party have been cancelled for 2021 & it is hoped that things will get back to normal for 2022.
The 2020 ceremonies to award the Queen's Award to Enterprise & the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service were all postponed. Ceremonies have been able to recommence in 2021 & several award ceremonies have already taken place & several more are planned before the end of 2021.
Honours presentation ceremonies both in Northern Ireland & in London are now proceeding. All those who received an award in 2020 & in 2021 have been offered the choice of having their award posted to them. arranging a private ceremony with the Lord Lieutenant or waiting until normality returns and they are able to attend a ceremony. Fortunately in the autumn of 2021, the ceremonies at Hillsborough have re-commenced but with restricted numbers attending & many other special arrangements to make them Covid-safe.