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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Register Office services and funerals

Last updated: 15 June 2021


  1. Register Office
  2. Face coverings
  3. Copies of certificates
  4. Marriages and civil partnerships
  5. Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership 
  6. Registering a death
  7. Registering a birth
  8. Funerals
  9. Cemeteries and the crematorium

Register Office

The Register Office is currently closed to the public, except by strict appointment only.

If you need to contact us, please call 0191 424 6350 and leave a message (we are unable to answer calls at the moment), or email

We are getting back to messages quickly, so please get in touch and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Face coverings

Guests must wear a face covering when attending a funeral, wedding or civil partnership ceremony at a Register Office, place of worship or other approved venue. 

The bride, groom and civil partners are not required to wear a face covering.

There are exemptions. See government guidance on face coverings.

Copies of certificates

You can get copies of birth, death or marriage certificates from the Register Office. 

Our priority certificate service is running now.

Order by telephone on 0191 424 6350. Please pay by card over the phone if you can.  

Certificates cannot currently be bought or collected from the Register Office. All certificates will be sent out by post.

Marriages and civil partnerships

The Government's roadmap for easing restrictions includes information on how weddings and civil partnerships will be able to take place safely as social contact restrictions are relaxed. The Government's plan sets out a four step process and different restrictions on weddings and civil partnerships exist at each step. All steps in the road map are subject to Government reviews of the progress of the vaccine programme, reduction of infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and the impact of Covid variants. We will update this webpage when new or updated information is issued by Government.

  • Step one - From 29 March, weddings and civil partnerships will be able to take place with up to 6 persons attending (including the couple) but will no longer be limited to reasons of exceptional circumstances.  Ceremonies will be subject to social distancing requirements. Receptions will not be permitted.
  • Step two - From no earlier than 12 April, weddings and civil partnerships will be able to take place with up to 15 persons attending (including the couple). Ceremonies will be subject to social distancing requirements.  Receptions will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees in premises that are permitted to open. Wedding receptions cannot take place in private homes and residences.
  • Step three - On 14 June 2021 the Prime Minister announced that there will be a 4 week pause and the Step 3 restrictions will remain in place for England with the exception of weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. From 21 June, the number of people who will be able to attend a wedding or civil partnership in a Covid secure venue will be determined by how many the people the venue can safely accommodate. This will be based on a Covid-19 risk assessment of the venue and the measures that have been put in place to limit the risk of transmission. There will no longer be a maximum number of 30 people allowed to attend weddings and civil partnerships. There is no change to social distancing rules or face covering guidance, which must continue to be worn by the guests inside. 
  • Step four - From no earlier than 19 July, Government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact however this is subject to a review by Government by no later than 29 June. Couples and attendees will still be encouraged to follow guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission and protect themselves and others when restrictions are removed.

At each step of the roadmap where social distancing restrictions remain in place, venues must be Covid-secure and ceremonies will be concluded in the shortest reasonable time and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law in England and Wales. This means that any readings, music, walking in or extended vows would not be included in the ceremony. This is to minimise the risk of exposure for all persons attending the marriage or civil partnership, including those officiating the ceremony and those who work at venues.  Where exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage of the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed (or sanitised) before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.

We will be contacting our couples by phone to discuss their options. We will not be taking any new ceremony bookings while we reschedule couples whose ceremonies have been postponed so far.

Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership 

This service will continue by appointment only.

We will be prioritising couples whose ceremonies have been cancelled or affected by COVID-19, to allow them to rebook and give new Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership where needed.

Registering a death

You can register a death by making a telephone appointment. Find out more about registering a death.

Registering a birth

  • Birth registrations have restarted, with changes in place
  • A new system has been put in place to allow outstanding birth registrations to be as quickly as possible whilst following social distancing guidelines
  • Registrations will be appointment only
  • Availability will be staggered based on the date of the birth of the child. This will allow earlier births to be registered first
  • Parents of unregistered babies will receive a letter inviting them to contact the Register Office on 0191 4277000 to make an appointment. If you are a South Tyneside resident and your baby was born in Sunderland, you will also receive a letter to allow your baby's birth to be registered at the Register Office in South Tyneside

If you are attending an appointment to register a birth, please follow the strict social distancing guidelines below:

  • If you are married or in a civil partnership only one parent should attend to register the birth
  • If you are not married or in a civil partnership both parents should attend
  • For the safety of your family and Register Office staff you should not bring your baby, other children or family members to the appointment with you. If you bring any other person to the appointment, they will not be able to access to the Register Office
  • If you or any one you live with are displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 you should not attend and you should contact us to rearrange your appointment
  • If you are showing symptoms when you attend your appointment you will be asked to leave and to rearrange your appointment
  • You will be asked to sanitise your hands when entering the Register Office and before leaving
  • A strict one-way system is in place and must be followed
  • Copy birth certificates can be purchased at your appointment which cost £11 each. We are currently accepting card payments only (no cash or cheques)

More detailed information will be provided by a Registrar when you book your appointment.


National guidance states that capacity limits must be based on the individual venue, whilst making sure that members of the public adhere to social distancing.

For cremations at South Shields Crematorium, there is a maximum of 15 people allowed inside the chapel (due to the size of the chapel).

There is no limit to the number of people who can be based outside (social distancing rules apply).

Masks or face coverings must be worn in all Council buildings, this includes South Shields Crematorium.

For advice and guidance contact Bereavement Services on 0191 427 3190.

Cemeteries and the crematorium

Cemeteries and the crematorium are open.

Due to government guidance on social distancing, the Roll of Remembrance Chapel and Flower Chapel at South Shields Crematorium are closed until further notice.

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