QUESTIONS were raised over how many people attended a ceremony to welcome Colchester’s new mayor.

The traditional ceremony at the Moot Hall was not possible in 2020.

Instead the outgoing mayor and mayoress, new mayor and mayoress and deputy mayor and mayoress were joined by three council officials for a online ceremony.

But commenters on the council’s live stream questioned how nine people were allowed to meet inside.

It comes after Essex entered the high alert level banning the mixing of households indoors.

A spokesman for Colchester Council said: “We were able to conduct mayor making in the Grand Jury Room under the current restrictions, as it was categorised as a work meeting.

“The ceremony was conducted in accordance with the latest Government guidance and regulations including windows and doors remaining open to ensure adequate ventilation.

Read more >>> Farmer becomes Colchester's 188th mayor in special socially-distanced ceremony

“As required, a Covid risk assessment was undertaken before the meeting. All participants were socially distanced and seated in their respective bubbles.”

"There was no handing-over of robes or chains, with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s respective partners also handling their own robes.

"The three officers in the room were also socially distanced. In addition, the room had been cleaned and hand sanitisers were available.

“The aim was to make this a special event for the incoming Mayor whilst complying with the current Tier 2 restrictions – altering the traditional ceremony without changing its essence.

"The safety of all those taking part in Mayor Making was our overriding priority, both during its preparation and throughout the ceremony itself.”