Social distancing eased for weddings but dancefloor still best avoided

The couple are allowed to have their first dance but guests are advised to resist the urge to boogie.

Wedding rings (Anthony Devlin/PA)
Wedding rings (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Newlyweds in England will be able to share their big day with up to 30 friends and family from Monday but some traditional activities such as dancing are advised against.

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

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

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.

Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, although the couple are allowed to have their first dance.

Wedding/tin mine 4
(Phil Monckton/PA)

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.

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.”

It added: “Although there is no requirement to be Covid-secure in a private garden, the organiser should take all reasonable steps to limit the risks of transmission and must adhere to the gathering limit of up to 30 people.”

An outdoor event is allowed to be “partially sheltered” under the new guidance, so an organiser could set up a marquee “provided that at least 50% of the walled area remains 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 will mean these places no longer have to remain closed by law.

They will be able to host events and allow viewings with “appropriate Covid-19 mitigation measures in place”, the guidance says.

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”.

Coronavirus – Sat Jul 4, 2020
Hand sanitiser inside the Priory Church of St Peter, Dunstable, Bedfordshire (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Face coverings must be worn by everyone, both guests and staff, who attends the wedding ceremony or reception except when they are eating or drinking.

Indoor professional performances can also be part of the day.

The guidance states: “Although there is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception, the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests.”

Up to six people who are in amateur choirs, bands or are musicians can perform together indoors, while outdoors, they may perform in groups of up to 30.

The new guidance changes the rules for weddings and ceremonies which have been held since April 12.

Any reception which had taken place since then could only involve up to 15 people and it have to be in the form of a sit-down meal in a Covid-secure outdoor venue.

It had also been ruled that guests should remain seated during the reception in groups of six or two households.

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