Wedding ceremonies with 15 people can go ahead indoors at hotels and other licensed premises from April 12, it has been confirmed – following fears that 7,000 couples would be forced to cancel their big days.
Ceremonies can currently take place with up to six people but ‘should only be held in exceptional circumstances’.
But concerns were raised when the UK Weddings Taskforce warned this rule would stop them being held at other licensed venues which normally host 71% of ceremonies.
The taskforce has now announced the Government has confirmed hotels and licensed premises will be also allowed to hold ceremonies with 15 guests indoors from April 12.
It comes despite the venues not reopening for other purposes, with hotels and B&Bs officially reopening on 17 May at the earliest.
There will be no flexibility in April for receptions, which must take place in a secure outdoor venue, that is permitted to open, in groups of up to 15.
The UK Weddings Taskforce said: ‘The rules for wedding receptions are different. The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors.
‘That is why at Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April – wedding receptions can resume but must take place outdoors. These cannot take place in private gardens and should only take place in a Covid-secure venue.’
Weddings Taskforce spokeswoman Sarah Haywood told MailOnline: ‘We understand why the activities of sector were curtailed when we were in the eye of the storm, battling the pandemic and protecting lives.
‘But with the successful vaccine rollout, and the opportunities offered by testing to establish the Covid-status, we do not understand why this sector is once again left behind.
‘We can host events within the guidelines just as venues who host wider events will be doing for those.’
Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings from May 17 – if Covid cases and deaths remain low, the vaccination programme meets Government targets and no powerful new Covid variants emerge.
Monday will mark England’s next milestone in Boris Johnson’s roadmap as outdoor meetings of up to six are allowed and outdoor sports facilities reopen.
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