The Sunday Telegraph
Wedding planners attack ‘hypocrisy’ of G7
Delaying lifting restrictions on June 21 ‘damaging’ says sector while world leaders wine and dine at summit
WORLD leaders meeting in Cornwall for the G7 summit have been labelled hypocrites for attending outdoor events with food and drink when such activities are forbidden for weddings under current rules in the UK.
It is expected that tomorrow, Boris Johnson will announce a delay to “freedom day”, which had been scheduled for June 21.
The wedding industry says such a delay would be extraordinarily damaging and sound the death knell of the sector. Sarah Haywood, a wedding planner and spokesman for the UK Weddings Taskforce said the scenes from the G7, where politicians, aides and media mingle while taking refreshments, would breach current rules if the same thing was to happen at a wedding. “They’re doing things that would not be allowed at a wedding. The hypocrisy!” she said.
Restrictions on weddings have been in place since March 2020, with ceremonies either cancelled or limited to just 30 people.
Mark Dawson, of the Wedding Venue Support Group, said the 30 capacity figure was based on a hunch from scientists due to a lack of solid scientific evidence available last year, but no empirical data has been provided to back up the figure since.
“We, in the sector, feel there hasn’t been any trust. There has not been a proper grown-up conversation with the sector throughout,” he said.
He said the arbitrary limit should be the first restriction to be scrapped and instead suggested a percentage of each venue’s capacity should be used, if some restrictions are kept in new guidance.
“Eighty people can sit inside a pub, but if you put a bride and groom in there, you can only have 30 in there, it doesn’t make sense and there’s no scientific evidence to back it up,” he said.
“It feels like we went backwards since we were vaccinated. How long can we keep going? The impact on the sector of any delay now is just extraordinary.”
The Centre for Economics and Business Research found that if the June 21 date is pushed back by four weeks, it will mean a £55million hit per day to the economy, totalling around £1.6billion.
Kay Neufield, head of forecasting at the CEBR, said: “The Government needs to acknowledge that most of the economic pain will once again be borne by those businesses that have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic so far – pubs, restaurants, night clubs and many other businesses in the hospitality and cultural sectors are desperate to reopen.”
A government spokesman said: “We know how disruptive the pandemic has been to couples and the wider wedding industry, but we have to ensure that we are putting the safety of the British public first and that is why it is right to continue to look at the latest data.
“We have already issued straightforward, clear and accessible guidance for those holding weddings and receptions under current guidelines and continue to work closely with the sector.”