JAN 2021 UPDATE: We recognise this last year has been difficult for many people and many couples will have postponed their wedding only to find restrictions are still in place on the new date. Unfortunately, the new lockdown restrictions dictate that weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people, not including those working. In addition, such ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is terminally ill, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. In addition to this, ceremonies may only take place in Covid-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
Keep up-to-date with: COVID-19: Guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations
Wedding Industry Businesses Support
These businesses, which include venue, catering, make-up, photography, cake, dress, tailor and florist businesses, help make a couple’s wedding day incredibly special. I do sympathise with any engaged couple who have had to cancel or postpone their wedding as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. I also understand how this difficult time has caused many challenges for businesses, and I continue to raise industry-specific concerns with my Ministerial colleagues.
I appreciate that the latest England-wide restrictions may bring further disappointment for businesses operating in the wedding sector. Under the restrictions, weddings are only permitted in exceptional circumstances, such as where one person is seriously ill and sadly not expected to recover, and with up to six people.
To support businesses during this time, the Chancellor has rightly expanded and extended schemes included in the unprecedented package of financial support. These measures have included grants, business rates relief, VAT deferral, self-employment income support and loan schemes. In addition, I welcome the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to the end of April 2021 which will help to protect jobs this winter period.
Businesses which are required to close are eligible for a grant of up to £9,000. This comes on top of existing grants to eligible closed businesses of up to £3,000 per month and grants of £2,100 to impacted businesses which remain open.
Further details on what support is available and the schemes is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder
At a time of crisis such as this when we have the variant of the Covid-19 virus in every part of the UK, it is always a challenge to find the right balance between keeping people safe and providing comfort by letting people gather in the company of others. My hope is that the latest temporary restrictions will give us time to vaccinate those who are most vulnerable to the disease while also help reduce the number of cases to a point where we can safely gather in larger groups without having to worry about risking the lives of those closest to us.