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New York executive order makes marriages over FaceTime legal

The state of New York is now allowing marriage ceremonies to take place on video conferencing platforms like FaceTime, with an executive order enabling couples to get married via a video link while maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ongoing effects of the coronavirus on everyday life has led to business closures and major changes to everyday life, as companies, individuals, and governments attempt to curtail its spread. In one effort to work around the need for social distancing, the state of New York is enabling a major life event to officially take place via a video conferencing service, such as by FaceTime.

Announced on Saturday as part of a wider COVID-19 press conference, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed the start of the special arrangement for marriage ceremonies, reports CNET. "We are today signing an executive order allowing people to get their marriage licenses remotely and also allowing clerks to perform ceremonies over video, Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa advised during the press conference.

Under the new executive order, couples will be able to perform all of the usual tasks with clerks that would normally be carried out in person by doing so digitally, with regard to obtaining a marriage license. As part of the same measure, clerks are also able to perform marriage ceremonies over a video link.

"Video marriage ceremonies - there's now no excuse when the question comes up," said Cuomo. "You can do it by Zoom."

It is likely that a range of video services will be usable, including Zoom and FaceTime, though what ultimately gets used could be limited by a number of factors, such as if other family members or wedding guests would be allowed to watch the marriage ceremony live.

New York City is among one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, with approximately 131,000 confirmed cases as of April 18, as well as approximately 8,900 deaths attributed to the virus. The state has ordered schools and nonessential businesses to remain closed until May 15, and that all people need to wear masks or face coverings in public, among other measures.