Boris Johnson under pressure to relax strict rules on weddings after ripping up his roadmap over funerals

Boris Johnson under pressure to relax strict rules on weddings after ripping up his roadmap over funerals


BRITS desperate to tie the knot in style are calling on Boris to relax tough restrictions on weddings – after he ripped up his roadmap to allow more people to attend funerals. 

MPs, couples and campaigners say people should be able to get married surrounded by all their loved ones after just ONE Covid death was recorded on Monday, and the PM brought forward funeral rules by nearly a month. 

Strict rules on weddings mean that at the moment just 15 people can attend a ceremony – which will rise to 30 later this month.

The £15billion industry employs 400,000 people across the UK alone.

And people from different households still must stay apart from one another – meaning no fathers walking their daughters down the aisle.

Newly-wed MP Philip Davies, who tied the knot with fellow MP Esther McVey in a scaled back ceremony last year, told The Sun: "I want everything reopened much faster – and weddings is one of them." 

Former Cabinet minister Esther added: "Funerals are a significant event for people as they say goodbye to their loved ones – but weddings are too as the start of a new union and becoming a family.

"If funerals can have more people, weddings must be allowed to as well."

Campaigners are baffled as to why weddings were not included in recent Government pilots of large events – but clubs and sporting events were.

And they argue that the risk is higher with scores of strangers mingling in pubs, restaurants and other indoor venues from May 17, as the PM is poised to green-light.

It's understood ministers have even compared social contact at weddings to funerals, leading to further confusion about why they have been left behind.

Former minister Tim Loughton called on Boris to "speed this up", adding: "Weddings are a time for great celebration with family and friends and thousands of couples have had to miss out. 

"It is time to let the guests back to share the joy of a wedding."

Even PM Boris and fiancé Carrie Symonds, won't be able to have the bash they desire until all covid rules are lifted later this summer.

The pair have one-year-old son Wilf together, but haven't tied the knot yet.

Campaigners say that the majority of wedding guests will already have been vaccinated, and with a written guest-list, any track and trace would be simple.

Jessie Westwood, co-founder of What About Weddings, told The Sun that moving the relaxing of rules forward to May 17 – in line with funerals – would be the difference between turning thousands of loss-making events into profitable ones.

"Weddings and private events will be safer than large hospitality settings.

"Couples who have postponed three or found times are really angry at this disparity, and watching everything else open up.

"People are putting their lives on hold, and we are constantly being fobbed off based on prejudice about how we behave at weddings."

Georgia Rowland, a paralegal from Basingstoke, Hants, has postponed her wedding three times due to Covid restrictions but is hoping to have a full-capacity bash with 100 people in July.

The 30-year-old told The Sun: "As soon as Boris announced his plans to remove restrictions in June, we moved our wedding date back a month to July.

"So we're relying on him to stick to his roadmap as I can't face postponing my wedding date for a fourth time and getting my hopes dashed once again.

"It's great that occasions such as larger funerals and sporting events with fans are able to go ahead, so it should be the same for weddings."

Penny Mordaunt in the Cabinet office has been put in charge of liaising with the industry to get them back on their feet in the coming months.

But last night No10 slapped down the calls to go faster, saying they had no plans to speed up any more aspects of the PM's roadmap.

The PM's spokesperson said the Covid stats were "in line with expectations… that emphasises the need to adhere to the roadmap which gives stability to the public and businesses".

Roadmap for weddings

Step 2 – April 12 onwards:

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted to take place with up to 15 people in COVID-19 secure venues that are permitted to open or where a broader exemption applies.

Receptions can take place with up to 15 people in the form of a sit down meal in any COVID-19 Secure outdoor venue that is permitted to open. Such receptions must not take place in people’s private gardens or public outdoor spaces.

Step 3 – 17 May onwards

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-19 Secure venues that are permitted to open.

Receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people in a COVID-19 Secure indoor venue, or outdoors. This includes private gardens.

Further details on receptions at this step will be updated in due course.

Step 4 – 21 June onwards

At Step 4, the government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions. This will be subject to the outcome of the Scientific Events Research Programme, which will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events of larger sizes.

At each step:

  • anyone working is not included in the limit for ceremonies or receptions
  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, and receptions, can only take place in venues that are permitted to be open at each Step. For further information, please refer to the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

They added: "We have got no plans to deviate from the earliest dates set out in the roadmap."

But businesses claimed they were still being kept in the dark as to whether the roadmap would go ahead as planned.

Downing Street has promised to give at least one week's notice before confirming the next step of the roadmap on May 17, and further relaxing of rules on June 21.

Atul Lakhani, the CEO of the Asian Weddings Association, said there must be reassurance soon that the roadmap will relax all restrictions as planned on June 21, to help his £5billion industry prepare.

And if it gets pushed back, he will look at legal action in the courts, he warned.

He said: "I need reassurances and guarantees that it will happen as planned on June 21.

"Our industry faces the biggest cliff edge one can imagine – with half the Asian wedding industry set to collapse.

"We can cope with one full year without trading, but to take a second away will destroy livelihoods."

And pub and restaurant bosses urged ministers to look again at social distancing laws too.

Kate Nicholls of UK hospitality urged them to go faster.

She said last night: "Hospitality is safe, confirmed by SAGE. "Given last week's reports showing high immunity levels, very low prevalence levels and strong vaccine efficacy against transmission, ministers should have the confidence to press ahead with reopening & remove restrictions."

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