The Prime Minister has now published his four-step 'roadmap' out of Lockdown. The Government will take a cautious approach, guided by the data, in order to avoid a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
The roadmap set outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step.
This assessment will be based on four tests:
- The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
- Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
It takes around four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of the previous step and the Government will provide a further week’s notice to individuals and businesses before making changes.
The roadmap therefore sets out indicative, “no earlier than” dates for the steps which are five weeks apart. These dates are wholly contingent on the data and are subject to change if the four tests are not met.
Regarding ceremonies he has posted information (see below) which are the earliest that the current situation may change. Lockdown will therefore continue until at least the week commencing 29 March.
The Government's expectation remains that during lockdown ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances.
Examples given for exceptional circumstances by the Government are an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.
It could equally be where a close loved one is seriously ill and may not be able to attend a later date if the ceremony were to be rearranged.
All ceremonies up to 29 March are therefore cancelled unless under exceptional circumstances have been applied for and granted.
Any ceremonies which meet these requirements and have been accepted by the Registration Service to continue will still be subject to the legal preliminaries having been completed, the Governmental restrictions in place and the other points above and below being agreed and met but you also need, when not marrying in a Registration Office, to contact your Licensed Venue to ensure that they can still meet any booked date.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must also, at this time and depending on room capacity and any other ceremony restrictions, only take place:
- with a maximum of 6 people including the couple. Anyone working, such as registration staff, are not included in this number.
- whilst maintaining a two-metre social distancing regime with the couple and all guests needing to be wearing face coverings unless medically exempt from doing so.
- when shortening the time period of the actual ceremony, when the couple and guests are together in ceremony rooms, to the recommended 15 minutes. The ceremony content will therefore be restricted, as necessary, to meet these timescales.
Step 1 – from 29 March, Weddings will still be able to proceed with 6 attendees only but will no longer be limited to exceptional circumstances.
Step 2 – will happen no earlier than 12 April, Weddings and receptions will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
Step 3 – will happen no earlier than 17 May, At this step, weddings and receptions can proceed with up to 30 attendees.
Step 4 – will take place no earlier than 21 June, the Government aims to remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.
If you wish to continue with your booked ceremony at this time no action is required although notices will still need to be arranged, if not already given and still in date.
If you need/wish to move a ceremony already booked to a later date please e-mail [email protected] and you will then be contacted by a trained member of staff to assist you.
This team is dealing with a backlog of contacts at this time so we would be grateful for your patience for a reply to any communication.
Please contact our Customer Service Centre on 01522 782244 to make new ceremony bookings.
New couple ceremony bookings are unable to be taken for ceremonies to take place before 1 June 2021 allowing any couples wishing/needing to rearrange an existing booking to book their 'new' ceremony date before June.