Thank you to the many constituents who contacted me about weddings and civil partnership ceremonies during the coronavirus pandemic. I very much appreciate this is an extremely difficult time both for brides- and grooms-to-be and for those who work in the wedding industry and its supply chain.
As you will know, on 22 February the Government announced its roadmap for ending the lockdown in England. Under this roadmap, from 17 May weddings and receptions have been able to take place with up to 30 attendees. From 21 June at the earliest, the Government says it aims to remove all limits on weddings, subject to its research programme on larger events.
I strongly believe it is right that the lifting of the lockdown should be cautious and irreversible. The Government should ensure relaxations of restrictions are clear and notified in advance and that there is no more reversing of decisions at a moment’s notice, including when it comes to weddings. I hope this will allow couples to make plans with more certainty.
In response to a parliamentary question on what steps it has taken “to work with representatives of the wedding industry on pilot schemes to facilitate the easing of social distancing restrictions on ceremonies and receptions”, the Government has said that its Ministers and officials meet regularly with representatives of the sector-led UK Weddings Taskforce. It says information provided by the Weddings Taskforce will contribute to its conclusions on how to bring about the return of larger weddings. I can assure you that I will continue to monitor progress on this issue.
However, I know that in the meantime, and until restrictions on weddings are further lifted, many businesses in the wedding sector will not be able to reopen or operate on a commercially viable basis.
These businesses play a huge role in one of the most important days in people’s lives and a vital role in our economy. I therefore believe it is crucial that the Government supports the wedding industry, to make sure they are still here to help people celebrate their special day on the other side of the crisis. While restrictions continue, they must be accompanied by proper economic assistance. I can assure you that I will continue to support efforts to press the Government on this issue.