People putting marriage plans on hold in a big way in the time of COVID-19, Harris County authorities say

A wedding photographer's assistant, wearing a mask for protection against the spread of coronavirus, holds lighting equipment, as a couple poses for photographs backdropped by Istanbul's iconic Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi) at the Bosphorus Strait separating the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. Turkey is getting tough on people who flout self-isolation rules despite testing positive for the coronavirus. An Interior Ministry circular sent to the country's 81 provinces on Friday said people caught leaving their homes despite isolation orders will be quarantined and supervised at state-owned dormitories or hostels. (AP Photo/Yasin Akgul) (Yasin Akgul, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – The Harris County Clerk’s Office said the pandemic has taken its toll on love with people putting their marriage plans on hold.

“According to our records, more marriage license applications are processed in the months of February and March, suggesting that couples are most likely getting engaged during the winter and on Valentine’s Day,” said Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth.

HCCO says its data shows that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 110 percent decrease in the number of marriage licenses issued. Only 15,149 marriage licenses were processed in 2020 compared to the 31,850 issued in 2019.

Harris County Clerk's Office graph showing marriage license applications from 2015-2020. (Harris County Clerk's Office)

The chart provides totals dating back to 2015. To provide a uniform assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the number of marriage license applications, the covered period ends in 2020.

View the complete marriage license application report here.

Applications for marriage licenses are carried out by appointment only. Residents can schedule an in-person appointment by visiting here or calling 713-274-8686.

“Despite challenging circumstances, we are doing everything possible to safely serve our residents and ensure that love in the time of COVID is possible,” Hudspeth said via a news release. “I am optimistic that sometime this year we will return to normal operations. For now, the health and well-being of the public is paramount.”

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Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.