corona update

Covid-19 update March 2021

Hi everyone,

I feel it’s important to keep all our wonderful couples and future ones in the loop when it comes to the current pandemic and what things are starting to look like.

So far, the SWIA has published information with the following:

26 April

  • From 26 April weddings for up to 50 people are allowed (with no alcohol permitted)
  • Close contact services can reopen
  • Pubs, bars, cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 22:00.
  • Non-essential journeys to other parts of the UK and the wider common travel area should also be permitted from 26 April or soon after.
  • Tourist accommodation to reopen (self-catering accommodation to be restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering)

17 May

  • further re-opening of hospitality: bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes can stay open until 10.30 pm indoors with alcohol permitted and 2 hour time-limited slots and until 10 pm outdoors with alcohol permitted

You can read the First Minister’s statement in full here.

The SWIA Leadership Team wrote the following to Fergus Ewing Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Tourism in response to the First Ministers announcement.

“On behalf of the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance, can we thank everyone involved in discussions with us over the past weeks and months for their support and understanding of the need for greater guest numbers, clarity and hope for our industry to survive.  Yesterday’s announcement has been warmly welcomed across the industry but we would ask for immediate discussions with relevant parties in order that we can suggest ways to make the move out of restrictions work as effectively as possible for all parties.

While we are enormously grateful that the level of 50 guests as a requirement for weddings to go ahead viably was heeded, it has to be said that we had not anticipated that this would come without the ability to serve alcohol, as this is a backward step from where we were prior to the latest lockdowns.  As you may remember, we reported in discussions that our research with couples indicated that the vast majority of weddings would not go ahead without alcohol.  The industry is now starting to see a migration of weddings from April/May to May/June, regardless of guest number restrictions.  It looks as if this will push revenue for suppliers to later in the year and with no funding having been allocated.  As you know, the first grants allocated through the SWIF were intended to support businesses until Easter.   We have considered possible ways of mitigating these effects and would ask that we could discuss the following as soon as possible:

 

Allow ceremonies of up to 20 people from 26th March: this is in line with church services allowing up to 50 people and should be seen as a stepping-stone for moving to larger numbers at the end of April

  • In all limited guest number restrictions, allow photographer/videographer to be excluded from guest numbers. As it stands, couples are having to choose whether to have photographs or to have a parent in attendance at ceremonies of 5
  • Consider reviewing the alcohol ban on weddings up to 17th May:  banning alcohol creates two problems: firstly, most weddings won’t go ahead and, secondly, we are concerned that at the ones that do guests will drink in toilets, hotel rooms or in cars, removing the ability of the venue to control the alcohol consumption for each guest.  We would suggest considering a move to 30 guests with alcohol from 26th April moving to 50 guests on 17th May as under current proposals
  • Wedding attire services to be allowed from 5th April, on an appointment-only basis:  with weddings allowed to take place from the end of April, there is a huge backlog of fittings and adjustments required prior to 26th April.  Brides are unlikely to go ahead with a wedding without a wedding dress
  • Hair and makeup trials to be allowed in line with close contact services opening on 5th April
  • Food tastings to be permitted from 5th April
  • In-person viewings to be permitted from 5th April in line with retailers, hairdressers and barbers:  it is essential that new business revenue streams return to the industry and couples rarely book a venue until they have seen it in person.  These viewings were permitted prior to the winter lockdowns and can be limited to 1 member of staff and the couple
  • Wedding attire services to be allowed from 5th April, on an appointment-only basis:  with weddings allowed to take place from the end of April, there is a huge backlog of fittings and adjustments required prior to 26th April.  Brides are unlikely to go ahead with a wedding without a wedding dress
  • Hair and makeup trials to be allowed in line with close contact services opening on 5th April
  • Food tastings to be permitted from 5th April
  • In-person viewings to be permitted from 5th April in line with retailers, hairdressers and barbers:  it is essential that new business revenue streams return to the industry and couples rarely book a venue until they have seen it in person.  These viewings were permitted prior to the winter lockdowns and can be limited to 1 member of staff and the couple.
The points outlined above are critical to the reopening of the industry.  The following points are areas that we have identified as requiring further clarification:

  • Can a first dance take place?
  • Can entertainment be allowed even if that is a DJ/non-vocal performance in the first instance?
  • Can small weddings at current numbers go ahead in a non-venue setting ie. elopement weddings which are often held in the open air?
  • Can we confirm that background music is permitted as per guidelines prior to the last lockdowns?
  • Can large private house venues accommodate people in line with hotel guidance?

As you can see, there is still a lot of dubiety around weddings but any news we get, we will share it in our blogs