TRADITIONAL civic ceremonies including the one to mark Remembrance Sunday will not take place as usual this year due to coronavirus restrictions, it has been revealed.

However, Colchester Council has insisted the important occasions will still be marked in the town, although the ceremonies may look a little different in 2020.

The authority has continued to host socially distanced civic events during the coronavirus pandemic such as the opening of the Colne Oyster Fisheries, with the traditional ceremony taking place on dry land rather than at sea this year to enable it to go ahead.

Following the updating of Government restrictions, which ban groups of more than six people meeting up indoors, future events will also have to take place in different forms in order to ensure they meet the guidelines.

Arrangements for Remembrance Sunday will have to be changed, with the usual High Street parade and ceremony at Colchester War Memorial unlikely to go ahead in November.

The event normally brings hundreds to the town centre to honour the sacrifices of those who died in the First and Second world wars.

The new rules also affect the planning for the upcoming Oyster Feast, a ceremony which dates back to 1845.

The event usually brings hundreds of distinguished guests to Colchester Town Hall, but the traditional meal cannot take place this year due to social distancing guidelines and the Government’s rule of six.

Colchester Council previously said it is working on a way of “ensuring the tradition of celebrating the Colchester Native Oyster is maintained” although full details have not yet been released.

The town’s memorial carol service, which usually takes place at the Colchester Crematorium Chapel in December, is also likely to have to go ahead in a different format.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “The council remains committed to upholding the civic traditions of the borough.

“The current situation means we are not able to hold events as normal.

“However, we are currently considering alternative ways to mark several important events in the civic calendar in line with safe social distancing measures.

“Although this means doing things a little differently, we hope to make these occasions accessible for anyone who may wish to take part – by participating online, for example – in order to ensure these time-honoured traditions continue to be observed.”

Specific plans for the revamped ceremonies are set to be announced over the coming weeks.