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What are the rules for weddings and funerals as Covid restrictions ease?

·3-min read
Weddings are currently able to take place with 30 people (Town Hall Hotel)
Weddings are currently able to take place with 30 people (Town Hall Hotel)

The guidance for funerals and weddings have changed as Covid restrictions have eased.

Since May 17, newlyweds in England have been able to share their big day with up to 30 friends and family but some traditional activities such as dancing are advised against.

Meanwhile funerals are able to allow more people to attend and pay their respects.

Previously, numbers of attendees for both ceremonies were drastically curtailed - with weddings stopped altogether at the height of the second wave unless in very specific circumstances.

At a press conference on June 14, Boris Johnson announced the 30-guest cap on weddings and wakes would be lifted.

What do the changes mean? Here’s what you need to know.

Where can you get married?

Coronavirus guidance says the happy event, be it a wedding or civil partnership ceremony, are able to take place provided they are at a Covid-safe venue that has been allowed to open.

Under the government rules up to 30 guests have been able to attend a reception or celebration, an increase from a maximum of 15 people who were allowed at such events after April 12.

At a June 14 press conference in Downing Street, the Prime Minister announced the lifting of the 30-guest cap from June 21, although other restrictions will remain in place.

Receptions can take place indoors, but not in a private home, or outdoors where it could be allowed to take place in a private garden.

Outdoor weddings can be partially covered, in say a marquee, as long as 50 per cent of the covering’s walls remain open.

The happy couple can also have a wider choice of venues to choose from including any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction as the easing of some lockdown restrictions mean these places no longer have to remain closed by law.

Do we have to wear masks/social distance?

Social distancing between people who do not live together is not required, although anyone attending a wedding is urged to exercise caution and be mindful of the risks of transmission.

The guidance stresses that people should still be careful, stating: “Instead of instructing people to stay two metres apart away from anyone they do not live with, people will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with Covid-19 and actions to take to help keep friends and family safe.

“You should always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to.”

Food and drink can be provided at the venues and places of worship but “all reasonable steps” should be taken to ensure that people remain seated and the “sharing of vessels or glasses, including where part of a religious service, should be avoided”.

Can we dance and can we have dancefloors?

Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple’s ‘first dance’.

Dancefloors and other spaces for dancing must remain closed but can be repurposed for additional customer seating or other relevant purposes.

Are funeral attendances still restricted?

Funeral attendance is no longer limited to 30 people from May 17.

Previously the move to cap funeral attendance has been called “painful” by critics.

Government guidance reads that the number of attendees will instead be “determined by how many people the covid-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing.”

Mr Johnson announced on June 14 that the 30-guest limit on wakes will be lifted.

What about face coverings?

Guidance on face coverings currently read they are required in: “Indoor settings, such as [...] places of worship unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse. This is the law.”

So depending where either a funeral, wedding or other life event is held, face coverings may be required.

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