Wedding venue owners have spoken of their concerns about “monitoring social distancing” after the government delayed easing coronavirus restrictions. However, one venue in Accrington insisted that they “close the doors” once they reached capacity.
The limit of 30 guests for wedding ceremonies and receptions will be lifted, the Prime Minister confirmed on June 21. That means those who have booked weddings after that date can still hold them, but social distancing rules must apply at the venue.
As with current funeral rules, the number of attendees is determined by how many people the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place.
However, food and drink must be ordered, served, and consumed by guests seated at a table, and indoor dancing is still prohibited with the exception of the couple’s first dance.
A typical Asian wedding will have several hundred guests. The industry, like many others, has been hit hard by the pandemic and smaller weddings were not feasible for companies always looking for bigger events. Many families have postponed weddings in the hopes that restrictions would be lifted.
There was particular concern among wedding venue managers who said they needed to “monitor social distancing” themselves.
One wedding location owner who did not wish to be named greeted the delay with a sense of concern.
“In a way, that’s good news for anyone who has booked a wedding.
“But I want to know if you will be monitoring this? For us as a venue, it’s hard enough telling people what to do.
“I’d rather be told that this is the number one can have in a building and that we all have to stick to it.
“Are we being searched by the Covid police? Will they count the number of people in the building? I already see a lot of problems for wedding locations.
“You tell people that you can only have so many people, but are they always listening?”
Sarah of Al Hamza Banqueting Hall in Accrington said they took great care to make sure they had Covid security measures in place. The venue is spread over two floors and offers a range of bespoke wedding services.
She said, “Even when we opened for a period last September, we worked with the council and invited them to study our security measures.
“We were very strict and special from the start. Since we reopen for larger events, we check everyone who enters and, if necessary, close the door as soon as capacity is exhausted. For the safety of our employees and other guests, we simply cannot risk doing something else. ”
Sarah agreed that it would be difficult for venue owners to force people to social distance, but she was glad that wedding venues could eventually be opened up to larger numbers.
“We can only do our best and ask guests to work with us.
“I feel more positive at the moment than before as we didn’t expect any changes in the judgments at all.”
A wedding owner in Blackburn said he has hosted weddings for up to 30 people but can now expand that to 125.
He said, “We have a capacity for 250 so we can try to run half that number. It’s easier for the big venues, but for us this has put us in a precarious position.
“Will people really listen to us when we tell them to stay seated or to keep their social distance?
“What if I force someone and people get it wrong? People’s attitudes towards social distancing have now completely changed. ”