AN Omagh flute band that will be parading in the town twice over the ‘Twelfth’ weekend has urged anyone planning on watching them to stay in their gardens or cars and comply with all social distancing rules.
Soon after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, the Orange Order announced that the traditional Twelfth of July demonstrations were being cancelled for this year and instead plans were laid for a ‘12th at Home’.
The annual 11th night bonfire celebrations across the North were also put on hold until 2021. But, with coronavirus restrictions easing in recent weeks to allow outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people while social distancing, the Parades Commission has received a flurry of applications from bands and other organisations across the North, including some across Tyrone.
The Blair Memorial Flute Band, based on Omagh’s Hospital Road, is planning a parade on Saturday evening (July 11) and then another one on Monday afternoon (July 13).
On its Facebook page, the band stated, “Members of the band will be parading the parks in the Hospital Road area on Saturday, July 11 from 6pm, however we strongly encourage everyone to please watch from their gardens or cars and we would ask parents not to allow children to follow the band as would have happened in previous years.
As this year there will be no bonfire, the parade will disperse on the main Hospital Road.”
The other parade, starting at 12 noon on July 13, will begin at Riverview Park and move up Campsie, Market Street, Bridge Street and Drumragh Avenue, before returning via Campsie to Riverview Park.
“Once again, we strongly appeal for anyone watching on the parade route to remain in their gardens or cars and apply with all social distancing rules,” the band stated.
Further small parades of no more than 30 participants are also being held on July 13 in Augher, Sixmilecross, Fintona and Newtownstewart.