The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has made an appeal to those attending Twelfth events to abide by public health guidance, as the organisation encourages people to get “jabbed for the 12th".
The annual Twelfth celebration is set to take place on Monday, with thousands of people and hundreds of bands expected to take part in the scaled back celebrations around the Battle of the Boyne.
While the Orange Order confirmed there will be no traditional County or combined District Twelfth parades as a result of Covid-19, around 100 localised parades are still expected to take place on the day.
Ahead of the events, the Orange Order urged spectators not to follow or walk alongside a band. They also encouraged those watching parades to ensure they are socially distanced and to avoid popular gathering points along routes to watch the passing bands.
Orange Order organisers have also called on those in bands attending to make use of Lateral Flow Covid-19 test kits the organisation has available at their Schomberg House headquarters, with a call for those marching to be “Tested on the 11th".
They have also encouraged Orangemen to be “Jabbed for the 12th" and book their first vaccination before Monday’s celebrations at one of the mobile and static vaccination points across Northern Ireland.
The Order reminded people with symptoms of Covid, or who test positive, they must not participate in or attend a parade and should proceed to have a full test carried out a designated testing centre.
The first parade of 2021’s Twelfth will take place in the Co Down fishing town of Kilkeel at 7am, with 60 people expected for the parade.
Parades deemed ‘sensitive’ in Lurgan and Portadown are due to take place on the day, with at least 10 penciled in for Portadown and several in Lurgan.
It is expected there will be a significant crowd at these parades, with the commission listing participants from 25 people, to 700, set to take part in some of the parades listed.
Outside of Belfast, one of the largest parades of the day will be in Cookstown, with 500 expected at the 11.30am parade and 12 bands involved in the march.
Grand Lodge Secretary Rev. Mervyn Gibson urged everyone attending to follow the guidance around social distancing and to take up the offer of a vaccination.
He said: “The Institution wants everyone to enjoy the Twelfth, but also to look after each other’s health. Whether that is simply wearing a face covering, or regularly using hand sanitiser on the day, everyone has a part to play.”