The manager of a wedding venue in Golcar said “uncertainty” over the government’s travel announcement for Kirklees had thrown summer plans into chaos.
The government secretly adopted new guidelines for eight areas of the UK, including Kirklees, on Friday May 21st.
The new rules say people “should avoid traveling in and out of affected areas unless it is essential” after spikes of the Indian variant of Covid-19 were identified.
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However, councilors, public health officials and local residents were not notified of the update, which was simply posted online at 5:26 p.m. They have since emphasized that there are no restrictions on entering and leaving Kirklees, but that everyone should exercise caution given the high Covid-19 rates in the area.
But the way the government issued the guidelines – not the law – has sparked angry allegations that they are not working with local authorities.
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Four days after the updated guidance, a few questions remain unanswered – including whether weddings in the affected areas will continue to be unrestricted from June 21st.
Beth Swinden, manager of The Weaver’s Shed in Golcar, Huddersfield, told YorkshireLive, “We just need an answer, whatever it is. Then we can plan it.”
The wedding venue, which opened just a week before the first coronavirus lockdown was rolled out in March 2020, said the lack of responses made it “impossible to plan”.
“For every wedding, we all have catering and staffing plans,” said Beth.
“We even bought extra things for some weddings. That’s money we’ll lose if they don’t go on.”
“It’s just the uncertainty of everything – even our employees know if they’ll be working in a month. It’s a big challenge.”
(Image: Instagram: theweaversshed)
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi MP has been pressed for an answer on whether weddings are affected in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, whose own constituency in Leicester South is one of the areas under the new rules, asked: “What does this mean for the young couple in Burnley or Blackburn or Batley who have postponed their wedding for more than a year and invited friends and Family from all over the country to celebrate their special day with you?
“Is the message for you that you have to postpone your wedding again?”
However, Mr. Zahawi did not directly answer whether the new rules would affect weddings and instead warned people to “be more vigilant and careful”.
He said, “Essentially, we are asking people to be careful in the affected areas [and] Carefully.
“When visiting family, meet outside rather than inside whenever possible. Indoor meetings are still allowed in a group of six or two households, but outdoor meetings are safer.
“Yes, people can visit family at half-time if they follow social distancing guidelines.
“Avoid entering and leaving the affected areas unless it is necessary, for example, for work purposes.”
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Due to the lack of clarity, venues like The Weaver’s Shed still don’t know if all wedding restrictions will be lifted on June 21 as originally planned.
Beth said, “It has been difficult for everyone in hospitality last year. So many people have had to postpone weddings again and again.
“Because we’re a new company, we’re trying to get our name out there, but if we do we could be closed again.
“We booked a lot of weddings this summer and hired people for them.
“We would have to cancel at least half of these weddings that we have booked [if new restrictions are imposed]unless the couples decided to have fewer guests. “
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Shabir Pandor, chairman of the Kirklees Council, has announced that surge tests will be carried out at a number of “key locations” in the area starting Wednesday.
No additional financial support has been provided for any of the affected areas, but a government spokesperson said, “It is important to stress that this is guidance as these are not legal restrictions on these local areas.”