Number restrictions for weddings and wakes relaxed
The relaxation of the limit of 30 people at weddings and wakes from next Monday (21 June) has been welcomed by Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Heritage and Culture, Cllr Graham Butland.
The Council operates several wedding venues across Essex, which will be subject to a limit of 30 people for another week. After that point, more people will be able to attend weddings, provided that social distancing rules are observed. The same applies to wakes and the same rule has applied to funerals since 17 May.
The Prime Minister explained yesterday that a delay until 19 July in moving to Step Four of the roadmap would reduce hospital admissions by up to a half, as more people will be vaccinated against the now dominant Delta variant. An extra 10 million adults could by immunised in that time, with 9 in 10 adults having already received at least one dose of vaccine.
Cllr Graham Butland said: “The relaxation on rules will mean couples will be able to have more of their friends and families with them to celebrate their special day. Wedding venues have been hit hard and we recognise they will be disappointed the restrictions will continue, however the relaxation on numbers will hopefully be seen as a small but welcome boost.
“There are also benefits to local suppliers and of course to our wider economy from those who will be visiting our beautiful county for a wedding or other ceremony. Further, it is welcome news that the same restrictions will be lifted for other commemorative events such as wakes, allowing people the important opportunity to say farewell to their loved ones.”
The delay in restrictions easing will have a significant effect on lots of businesses across the county, particularly those in the hospitality, events and tourism sector. These businesses have spent months planning in the anticipation that any limits in capacity would be removed and larger events could take place from 21 June.
The delay will also mean those businesses that were allowed to re-open during the Step Three of the roadmap must continue to operate at a reduced capacity.
However, in preparation of a potential delay to unlocking, ECC’s Cabinet recently approved the extension of the Essex Business Adaptation Grant by a further £5million. The time period for the scheme will also been extended to run throughout the summer months, giving businesses even more time to apply. ECC’s additional business support grant is available until the end of July.
Cllr Lesley Wagland, Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Planning and Regeneration, said: “For so many Essex businesses, the difficulties will continue for a month longer, but the end of restrictions is still in sight and above all, we must make sure this is a one-way ticket, not a temporary relaxation before a return to restrictions.
“Grants to help with adaptations and other funding is still available via District, Borough and City Councils and I would urge businesses to please take advantage of the available support.”