The Welsh Government has made Regulations which govern the operation of Wedding businesses as part of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and other guidance on the law are published on the Welsh Government website.
The current Regulations allow for the solemnisation of marriage, formation of civil partnerships and alternative wedding ceremonies to take place. All premises approved to hold marriage and civil partnerships ceremonies are able to open for ceremonies up to the capacity of the venue given social distancing requirements. The guidance on wedding ceremonies can be found on the Welsh Government’s website.
The Regulations allow for wedding and civil partnership receptions to take place in alert levels 1 - 3 only. More information about the alert levels and the numbers allowed to attend a reception in each alert level can be found in the Coronavirus control plan: revised alert levels in Wales (March 2021).
From 17 May, all of Wales will be in alert level 2. This means that organised activities, including wedding receptions can be arranged for up to 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Indoor wedding receptions cannot take place inside private homes. Food and drink are permitted at both indoor and outdoor wedding receptions in line with the hospitality guidance. More information is available in the UK Hospitality Cymru .
Outdoor receptions cannot take place in private gardens as the current restrictions are that only up to six people from two households (not including carers or children under 11 from either household) can meet outdoors in private gardens and private outdoor spaces, increasing to six people from any household from 26 April. A wedding reception cannot be held in an enclosed structure as defined in regulation 3 of the Smoke-free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020, see further guidance below.
A reception can be held at a regulated venue which has not held the wedding ceremony itself. However, the reception must be associated with a wedding that has taken place on after the 26 March 2020.
Wedding businesses have duty under the regulations to;
- Take all reasonable steps to ensure a 2 metre distance between people from different households is maintained at all times.
- Take other reasonable measures to minimise risk of exposure to, or spread of, coronavirus.
- Provide relevant information for those entering or working at the premises on how to minimise that risk.
There are a range of guidelines which apply to your business and these are augmented by the content of this guidance which is designed to help you to meet your obligations, assess your premises and practises, and make your business COVID-19 safe. As an employer, you have the legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to mitigate them, recognising that risk management does not eliminate but instead minimises risk.
This means you need to undertake a full risk assessment for your individual premises and work activities, assessed against the relevant guidelines. The examples in this advice document are to help you to translate these into areas that may be relevant to your business, and any measures that are taken should fit appropriately with the operational needs of your business as well as relevant legal requirements.
The Welsh Government has produced workplace guidance for employers and employees. There is also guidance for the tourism and hospitality businesses and also detailed guidance for hospitality venues developed by UK Hospitality Cymru including updated mitigations for re-opening outdoors from 26 April. Indoor receptions are not permitted.
You should consult on, and share, the results of your risk assessment with your staff and colleagues either directly or via employee or Union representatives. HSE has published guidance on worker involvement which may be helpful.
You should consider using the COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool with all staff and volunteers to ensure that personal risk to these personnel is mitigated.
This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that as a business you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors and other people, as well as your employees.
Registrars or other third parties involved in the event may wish to assure themselves of their safety by considering the risk assessment. Copies of the assessment should be offered in these circumstances.
The highly-infectious variant of the virus, first identified in Kent, is now dominant in all parts of Wales. This means that adopting protective behaviours are even more important than ever: getting tested and isolating when we have symptoms; keeping our distance from others; not mixing indoors; avoiding crowds; washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings in places we cannot avoid being in close.
The successful vaccination programme will help to lower the number of people who will suffer serious illness and die from COVID-19 but despite the phenomenal speed at which we’re rolling out vaccination and the high take-up rates, there will still be many people that won’t be protected.
At the heart of the measures to tackle coronavirus is the need to maintain 2 metre physical distance between everyone who does not form part of the same household (this includes a support bubble or an extended household, when these are permitted). The mitigating actions and protocols you put in place must ensure that all reasonable steps are being taken to maintain this distance. These might include:
- keeping the number of people on the premises at any one time to a minimum
- controlling use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts
- controlling the way people walk around premises, establishing one-way systems
- controlling the use of shared facilities such as toilets as kitchens
- increasing space between staff and between staff and attendees, for example indicating spacing with markings
- increasing the space between attendees, for example by positioning tables differently.
- considering appropriate provision of rest space, is there a congregation of workers or visitors at a certain time? Could additional space be provided, or breaks staggered?
- altering tasks undertaken – making adjustments to the way that work is done, to reduce contact
- staggering shifts to minimise people on site and to reduce congestion at the point of shift changes
However, whilst it is always preferable, it may not be possible to maintain 2 metre distances at all times. This might, for example, include waiting staff providing table service. In these circumstances, it is important that other measures are taken. The most obvious measures to take are anything which reduce close face to face interaction improve hand washing practice, increased avoidance of touching the face with unwashed hands and improve respiratory hygiene and cleaning. Examples include:
- more frequent cleaning, in particular of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens
- minimising loud noises which will require people to shout
- avoiding close face to face interaction, for example by:
- seating people back to back or front to back
- erecting physical barriers or screens between people
- wearing appropriate protective equipment such as three-layered face coverings which comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance
Good hygiene is vital to the reduction of transmission. Handwashing should always be in line with Government guidelines regarding method and the 20 second length of washing. All staff should wash their hands when arriving at work, as well as before handling or eating food, or after blowing noses, coughing or sneezing, or going to the toilet. You should consider providing more bins for used tissues to support good respiratory hygiene.
Communications to staff should remind everyone to wash their hands or use a suitable hand gel at the start of every shift and at regular intervals to interrupt the chain of transmission. Hand sanitiser could also be placed in multiple locations in addition to washrooms.
Cleaning regimes and hygiene standards
A strong and effective cleaning regime and hygiene standards are one of the most crucial parts of your risk assessment, and therefore your ability to operate safely.
- Reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the physical distancing requirements as far as possible.
- Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
- Using signage to remind people of the requirement to wear face coverings in indoor public places (unless they have an exemption), where this is relevant to the venue.
- Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.
- Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in addition to washrooms.
- Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and physical distancing is achieved as much as possible. Read guidance about providing safer toilets for public use. Enhancing cleaning for busy areas and common touch points such as door handles, handrails, countertops etc.
- Use of portable toilets should be minimised and special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets where they are in place.
- Use of physical distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, staff lockers and changing rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.
- Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collections.
- Providing hand drying facilities, either paper towels or electrical dryers.
Ventilation and Water
Whilst physical distancing is an important part of preventing transmission of Coronavirus it is not enough alone to prevent all forms of airborne transmission. The virus is spread by aerosol which is the fine mist (as opposed to larger droplets) containing infectious particles that an infected person exhales. Without ventilation, this aerosol can concentrate in indoor areas. Two factors are key to this concentration, one is the rate at which aerosol is emitted and the other is time over which the activity takes place. Emissions are significantly affected by the volume at which an infected person might sing or speak. Evidence suggests that we emit 50 times more virus laden particles when we speak in a loud voice than when we don’t speak at all.
These emissions will remain airborne in aerosol and concentrate over time. Face coverings will reduce but not eradicate the emission of infected aerosol so the longer the period spend together with an infected person in a poorly ventilated space the more the risk of transmission increases.
All businesses should maximise ventilation and enhance airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible. See further detail on ventilation in the Tourism & Hospitality Businesses guidance.
Those in control of a premises have a legal duty to ensure effective ventilation. Read further advice on air conditioning and ventilation is available from the HSE.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated and expanded its advice to help employers provide adequate ventilation in their workplaces and premises during the pandemic. The guidance builds on helping you to identify and take action in poorly ventilated areas. It also provides guidance on other factors to consider when assessing the risk from aerosol transmission, and determining whether adequate ventilation is being provided to reduce this risk.
You should be maximising the fresh air in a space and this can be done by:
- natural ventilation
- mechanical ventilation
- a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation, for example where mechanical ventilation relies on natural ventilation to maximise fresh air
Read the updated guidance on air conditioning and ventilation and find out how you can provide adequate ventilation in your workplace, helping to protect workers and other people from transmission of coronavirus.
There is also advice available for building services, particularly around ventilation of buildings, both in use and when returning to buildings which have been closed from the following:
- Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
- The Building Engineers Services Association, and
If buildings have been closed or had reduced occupancy water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires disease. See HSE guidance covering water management and legionella.
Steps that will usually be needed:
- Checking any water supplies: mains water supplies that have to be reconnected (because they were turned off when a premises was closed) will need running through to flush away any microbiological or chemical residue that might have built up while it was disconnected. The Drinking Water Inspectorate, who are the Regulators and technical experts in England and Wales, has produced this advice on maintaining drinking water quality when reinstating water supplies after temporary closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.
- Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings or you are unsure, advice can be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.
- Removing any fans from, for example, workstations, to avoid the recirculation of air.
- Opening windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible, and if it is safe to do so.
Ventilation and the new variants (technical details for those with mechanical systems)
Ventilation is a key mitigation measure to control the far-field (>2m) transmission of SARSCoV-2 by aerosols between people who share the same indoor space. Ventilation is not likely to have significant impacts on close range transmission by droplets and aerosols (within 1-2m) or transmission via contact with surfaces (high confidence).
Higher viral load associated with people who have the new variant could have significant implications for transmission via the air, as previous scientific modelling suggests that viral load is a major determinant of airborne transmission risks. SAGE before the introduction of the new variant stated; for most workplaces and public environments adequate ventilation equates to a flow rate of 8-10 l/s/person based on design occupancy, although guidance for some environments allows for lower flow rates of 5 l/s/person. Since the introduction of the new variant, SAGE has recommended where possible, increasing ventilation flow rates mentioned above by a factor of 1.7 (70%) to account for the increase in transmissibility.
For some existing and older buildings, ventilation systems may not have been designed to meet current standards and additional mitigations may be needed. As a precautionary measure it is recommended that ventilation is included as part of any workplace or public indoor environment COVID secure risk assessment, and the necessary mitigation measures are adopted.
In most buildings, maintaining comfortable temperatures and humidity above 40-60% relative humidity is likely to be beneficial to reducing the survivability of the virus. However, this is likely to be less important than the ventilation rate mentioned above.
Planning for good ventilation should therefore form part of an effective risk assessment. Reducing the time over which an activity takes place as well as mechanical ventilation and utilising natural ventilation such as keeping doors and windows open are all mitigations to manage the risk posed by aerosol in places of worship. It is recognised that weather can make natural ventilation uncomfortable but even in winter the need for ventilation remains an important strategy for reducing our risk of exposure to the virus. It will be important to maximise airflow through the use of vents, windows and doors whilst maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Opening windows/doors for at least five minutes before people arrive and when everyone has gone home, and again between services if there is more than one scheduled will allow air to circulate. If at all possible, you should open all windows/doors for a few minutes in the day to allow for cross ventilation, that is for stale air to flow out and fresh air to come in.
However, in managing the transmission of the virus during the pandemic it might be appropriate to ask people to dress so that windows and doors can be kept open during the service to maximise the airflow. Where it is not possible to maximise natural ventilation places of worship should consider shortening activities.
Natural ventilation via windows, doors or vents should therefore be used as far as possible. Where centralised or mechanical ventilation is present, re-circulatory systems should be adjusted to full fresh air, if this is not possible systems can be operated as normal, but should be supported by natural ventilation to avoid recirculating infected air. Where ventilation units have filters present ensure enhanced precautions are taken when changing filters.
The Health and Safety Executive have published guidance on risk assessing ventilation and the use of mechanical ventilation and guidance about making your workplace COVID secure.
Post wedding cleaning
After the wedding or civil partnership ceremony and reception a ‘deep clean’ of the venue should be undertaken. This will include, but not be restricted to:
- The wiping down of all surfaces.
- The wiping down of all door handles/light switches/toilet flushing handles
- The sterilisation of all catering equipment
- The safe disposal of any non-reusable protective equipment
Particular attention has to be paid to the cleaning of all multi-touch points in communal areas and elsewhere.
Test, Trace Protect
Test Trace Protect (TTP) is a vital mechanism to control outbreaks of the virus. The virus can only sustain itself through transmission between humans. Knowing who, those who have caught the virus may have spread it to, gives us the chance to isolate the virus through self-isolation of the individuals. The latest Welsh Government guidance links on Test Trace Protect can be found below, with information on business obligations, and if customers/guests display symptoms or test positive.
You must read these guidelines and at all times implement Test, Trace Protect measures and related practices in your venue.
Keeping records of staff, customers and visitors
Read this guidance in conjunction with Tourism and hospitality businesses guidance.
Staff, suppliers and other third parties who may attend on the day must be included in the TTP register.
Attendance at a wedding should be by invitation only and the number will be determined by the risk assessment.
The numbers that can attend the reception or social gathering will vary dependent on the alert level and restrictions applicable at the time of the event as well as the capacity of the venue allowing for all reasonable measures to be taken.
|Alert level||Maximum numbers indoors||Maximum numbers outdoors|
|Alert level 1||50||100|
|Alert level 2||30||50|
|Alert level 3||15||30|
These are maximum numbers and should be considered alongside the outcome of the risk assessment. Dependent on the size and layout of the room and other considerations the number that can attend safely maybe less. Children under 11 or carers of someone present are not included in these numbers neither are staff and third party suppliers (such as Registrars or professional musicians) except where social distancing requirement reduce the venue specific capacity below this number.
Those experiencing coronavirus symptoms listed below should not attend:
- new continuous cough
- high temperature
- loss of or change to your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
Those who have symptoms, have tested positive or are from a household where someone has symptoms or has tested positive should not attend but should stay at home and self-isolate. Additionally, those who have been contacted by Test Trace and Protect and advised that they are contacts of a positive case should also not attend and should self-isolate.
The advice for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, or in an increased risk group continues to be that they should minimise their contact with others for their personal protection. However, they may decide to attend despite the additional risk this poses to them and should be facilitated to do so.
Training should be given to ensure that all staff understand the new risks, and should include details on social distancing requirements, routes of transmission and the importance of wearing face coverings, hand washing and surface disinfection at key times. All staff should be instructed about not coming to work if they have a high temperature, new continuous cough or the loss of taste or smell. They should stay at home and self-isolate and take a test in line with current guidance.
Staff return and fitness to work
It is recommended that businesses should carry out a return to work conversation, with staff for example for those returning from furlough. HSE has guidance on talking to employees about COVID-19. This should be carried out for all staff returning to work in the work environment, to ensure staff safety.
Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home. Clinically vulnerable individuals, who are at higher risk of severe illness, have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing and should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative role. If clinically vulnerable (but not extremely clinically vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to socially distance from others. If they have to spend time closer than the social distance to others, you should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk.
You should consider using the COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool with all staff and volunteers to ensure that personal risk to these personnel is mitigated.
As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
You should also provide support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. See guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms.
People who need to self-isolate
The current advice is that individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing Government guidance do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive as well as those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the Government’s Test Trace and Protect programme as they have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive..
You should enable workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate. See current guidance for employers and employees relating to statutory sick pay due to coronavirus. See current self-isolation guidance for further details.
Advice for staff outside the work setting.
Staff are a potential source of transmission. A general commitment to hygiene should be regularly communicated to staff, including transmission threats outside of the workplace, infection and quarantine guidelines, and actions to reduce risk of infection in the home.
All Welsh Government advice should be adhered to with regard to protection of staff from COVID-19 and actions to limit risk of transmission. This will include developing cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures, requiring face coverings to be worn in all indoor public places and maintaining social distancing, wherever possible. Below are some suggested control measures to consider as part of your risk assessment and development of risk management procedures. Please note this list is not exhaustive.
The most important thing is to remember the routes of transmission, and to work out what actions are most effective in your business.
- Heightened cleaning and disinfection to disinfect all frequently touched areas in staff areas such as tables, chairs, counters tills, card machines, etc.
- For staff break areas/canteens, stagger timings so that groups of staff have slots to come for their meals to reduce gathering.
- In office/admin areas, many people could be sharing the phone, keyboard, mouse, and the desk. If these items are shared, they should be cleaned using your usual cleaning products before being used, and cleaning products should be made available for this purpose.
- Make sure that the social distancing rule applies at smoking / vaping breaks
- Wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. There is more control if laundry is carried out in-house or professionally, rather than staff taking it home.
The use of face coverings indoors is mandatory. It applies to everyone aged 11 and over, unless someone has a reasonable excuse not to. You may have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if (for example):
- you are not able to put on or to wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, or because of a condition or impairment
- you are accompanying somebody who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate and you cannot access a clear face covering
Children under 11 do not have to wear face coverings. It also applies to staff working in indoor public areas and to members of the public entering those public areas.
There are circumstances where it would not be reasonable for the couple to wear a face covering, such as during the walk down the aisle, the vows, a first kiss and a first dance. This would also include photographs taken indoors but only for the couple. Physically distanced photos may be taken outdoors of other guests without wearing face coverings. The celebrant themselves may also not wear a face covering during the ceremony. However they should consider a range of other mitigations to ensure they can provide a barrier to transmission such as additional distancing, screens, visors and additional hygiene measures.
Face coverings do not have to be worn outdoors, including at outdoor tables when food and drink is being served for consumption. Physical distancing should be maintained at all times at tables to avoid households mixing.
For indoor receptions, face coverings may only be removed whilst at a table when food or drink is being served for immediate consumption, and physical distancing measures must apply if more than one household is seated together. Face coverings must be replaced once consumption of food and drink is completed, if people remain seated at the tables indoors.
Those responsible for the venue should also refer to the guidance on face coverings for employers and managers of premises, which gives more information on places that allow access to the public.
Organised events, to a maximum of 50 individuals, are permitted outdoors in regulated premises. The completion of a risk assessment is a requirement on that body and it must be comparable to one required under regulation 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. The organiser should be able to control the outdoor space to maintain this COVID-19 security which means organisers should have exclusive use of the space for the duration of the event. Fences, signage and the use of representatives to guide attendees may all be appropriate mechanisms to establish control of the space and ensure physical distancing.
Control of the site may be established through ownership or with landowner’s permission. Organisers should be wary of circumstances which would undermine their control such as public rights of way across the site.
Liaison with Local Authorities and other authorities such as the Police may be necessary where land that is normally open to the public is to be used. The organiser should make sure that they communicate a clear understanding of the behaviours expected by those who attend. Where behaviours breach the protocols and risk the COVID-19 security of the event, organisers should consider terminating the event or asking parties to leave. The organisers are responsible for managing the public health risks associated with the event.
When utilising outdoor spaces, the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos or marquees should be implemented in such a way so as to ensure that they are aligned with current public health advice. The effects of sunlight, wind direction and intensity, social distance and effective handwashing should all be considered.
Specifically, if they are closed on all sides and roof/ceiling they are considered and treated as an internal environment, and should be treated as such. In contrast if they are open-sided (at least 3 sides or more than 51% open as per the Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020 they are to be considered and treated as an external environment. It is imperative that if marquees or similar are to be used they need to be part of the premises’ risk assessments included in cleaning regimes, and monitored so as to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements. See guidance on creating safer public spaces.
The numbers attending should be determined by the risk assessment but must not exceed 50 individuals not including under 11 year olds or a carer for someone attending.
Outdoor receptions cannot take place in private gardens.
Managing the event
Identified responsible person – COVID-19 prevention wedding/event manager
Recent advice by the Technical Advisory Group: current evidence relating to weddings notes that:
Evidence continues to indicate the SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted by three main routes: close-range respiratory droplets and aerosols, longer range respiratory aerosols, and direct contact with surfaces contaminated with the viral particles. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is strongly associated with proximity and duration of contact in indoor environments (high confidence) and the risk increases with duration of contact.
It is recognised that most viral transmission occurs due to prolonged, close interaction with friends and relatives in a familiar and relaxed environment (i.e. in places and situations we perceive to be safe). This may lead to an ‘intimacy paradox’ whereby a place we think is safe is in fact risky and so transmission risks are highest when people spend extended periods of time in close proximity to infected individuals.
Social interactions indoors increase the risk of infection. The risk is greater with larger events and those which are inter-generational (high confidence).
Increased transmission is likely to result from more social mixing during celebrations, often involving gatherings beyond habitual networks and across regions, and in larger groups (high confidence). There is also good evidence that activities associated with social gatherings and celebrations increase risk, including shared dining and events such as weddings and parties.
The highest risks of transmission, including those from super-spreading events, are associated with poorly ventilated and crowded indoor settings with increased likelihood of aerosol emission (such as loud singing/speech, aerobic activity) and when no face coverings are worn such as bars, nightclubs, parties/family gatherings, indoor dining, gyms and exercise classes, choirs and churches (high confidence).
It is your responsibility to your staff, guests and the wider community to manage the event in a way that reduces the risks and makes sure that individuals follow current Welsh Government guidelines on behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic (wash hands etc.). If people have to self-isolate due to COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test, or quarantine because they have been in contact with a confirmed case, then it is essential to do so regardless of the occasion.
For this reason it is essential that you have an identified responsible person both for the conduct of the risk assessment and development of protocols and for ensuring implementation and adherence to the COVID-19 prevention practises you have developed on the day of each wedding. Whilst this may not be the same person every time, it is essential that there is effective communication between the individuals carrying out this role.
On the day the responsible person COVID-19 event manager should address any matters which undermine the mitigating actions and procedures which have been developed. For example, prevent and challenge mingling between separate households and ensure guests follow distancing or other measures you have put in place. This might be communicated through members of the wedding party, but it should be remembered that the duty to minimise risk of exposure to, or spread of, coronavirus is now an additional expectation on your business.
One of the great advantages of wedding venues are the very strong communication links between couples, guests and suppliers and the venue.
- Guests should be provided with information which sets out the procedures and protocols which apply on the day.
- The venue should get agreement from guests that they will comply with the rules and that they accept the fact that in order to keep everyone safe they may be asked to leave if these rules are not adhered to. This can be done before the wedding and can be integrated into the “registration “process. This will encourage guests to “self-monitor” and an understanding that the venue will need to intervene if they do not.
- The TTP requirements are set out above and a register of all staff, suppliers and attendees must be made by the venue. This can take the form of an online pre-registration of guest attendance to support the tracing process. This must be supported by registration of actual attendance as below.
- They must confirm that they recognise social distancing, wearing of face coverings and other rules to protect against the spread of COVID-19 will be in place at the venue. If they are attending they confirm they will abide by these rules and understand that should they not abide by them the venue will have the right to ask them to leave.
- Additionally they should provide confirmation of compliance with the processes after the wedding.
Opportunity for continued communication/reminders throughout the event
- Digital technology, including Apps which allows groups to be formed for the purpose of communicating with one another may be used to create a wedding group prior to the event. Using the App guests will be able to communicate with the venue management so as to minimise face to face communications.
- Guests will be invited to join the wedding group prior to the wedding and assisted by staff in the venue car parks to join the group if that is their choice.
- Whilst it is for the responsible person or COVID-19 event manager to raise issues, such as social distancing not being adhered to during the wedding, Apps may be used to offer reminders of the protocols and procedures that have been put in place to keep everyone safe.
- Other opportunities to remind guests politely about social distancing, face coverings etc may occur: at the ceremony, at speeches, after dinner when announcing first dance
- Any guest not complying with the agreed social distancing requirements of the wedding should be respectfully asked to comply with the requirements.
- If intoxication is identified as a potential risk then a member of the staff will consult with the client and identify an acceptable solution.
- Drinks service may be restricted or denied and guests failing to comply with the reasonable requests of the Event Manager may be asked to leave the property.
- Once the event has finished guests are asked to finish their drink and say their good-byes in a reasonable timescale, and an announcement by staff to remind everyone that despite temptation social distancing must be adhered to. Non-resident guests should be required to leave site within 30 minutes of the end of the wedding.
Arriving at the venue
2 metre social distancing remains the default position, however where social distancing can’t be maintained between staff and guests, staff should increase the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning, keep the activity time involved as short as possible. Where appropriate and achievable, consider screens between staff and guests/visitors in communal areas. Complementary items should not be offered, in reception areas. Below are further points to consider:
- Communicating, though signage and/or other means, explanations of social distancing rules, additional hygiene measures, one-way systems and other mitigations in place to protect guests and staff.
- Make clear in visible posters and other communications the extra measures that are being taken, to offer reassurance.
- If you have a doorperson present, use them to ensure that guests observe social distancing, for example, if there is a queue for the reception desk at entry to the venue.
- Make sure all reception staff, guests and visitors have access to sanitiser at the desk, as well as throughout the venue and that staff use this between welcoming guests.
- Floor markings or other physical indicators, where implementation is appropriate and achievable, will be used to act as visible reminders of social distancing requirements. Where possible, one way systems should also be used.
The ceremony, reception and movement around the venue
- Seating plans for each individual event should need to be drawn up to ensure guests remain within their (extended) households during the ceremony. The ceremony will need to comply with all social distancing rules.
- The wedding space should be designed in a configuration that facilitates compliance with the requirements of reasonable social distancing for example one way systems
- Background music at a low-level volume can be played during the ceremony itself, however singing, chanting or dancing is not permitted.
- No greeting lines will be permitted, unless it is possible with all guests maintaining social distancing throughout. There should be no physical contact between the couple and their guests, unless they form part of the same bubble.
- Wedding photographs, wherever possible, should be taken outdoors.
- Photographers must comply with social distancing. All photograph setup will need to respect the social distancing rules, and the photographer should factor this in to their planning of the event. We would also recommend only one photographer allowed per event.
- As current rules stand, close group shots are not permitted unless organised in (extended) households.
- Mingling between (extended) households must be avoided. Your design of the venue should address this. Including providing table service only with no buffets permitted.
- Speeches should be allowed as normal. However, sharing of microphones, and passing out gifts should not be permitted during speeches. Volume levels should be kept to a reasonable level so guests do not have to raise their voices.
- Gift tables should only be used where hygiene arrangements and social distancing allow breaks in potential transmission. Cake tables and the distribution of the wedding cake should be managed with the same disciplines that would apply to the general catering approach
- No dancing should be allowed during the reception but a specific exception can be made to allow a ‘first dance’, for the couple themselves. The parameters for this should be that appropriate social distancing between the couple and guests should be possible during the dance. Circles should not be formed except where distancing between households can be maintained. Accompanying music should be played in a way that does not encourage guests to sing along, shout or to raise voices to maintain conversation as these are high risk activities.
- It is also sensible to consider the time exposure of staff such as those waiting the table service as part of your risk assessment. In particular with how the time of exposure plays out against the ability to maintain a 2 metre distance and the mitigating actions that can be taken for staff, such as additional hygiene or other arrangements.
- Whilst loud music, be it recorded or played live, should be avoided during the ceremony or reception, it would be possible to have unamplified live music performed by a socially distanced group (such as a string quartet) as a background. Blown instruments should not be played. Solo singers or small groups of singers would be allowed and should follow the guidance for the performing arts.
- Outdoor activities are generally safer than indoors and protocols and plans should consider what activities can be moved outdoors. Where this is not possible good ventilation should be used wherever possible.
Food & Beverage service
Food and drink including alcohol may only be served where permitted by the Regulations. More information is available in guidance published by UK Hospitality Cymru.
Food and drink can be served at outdoors organised events for a maximum of 50 people (not including under 11 year olds and carers of someone present)
Indoor organised events for a maximum of 30 people (not including under 11 year olds and carers of someone present) are allowed with food or drink can be served indoors.
For venues that will be offering a food and a drinks service, a specific part of your risk assessment must be developed to ensure employee and customer safety. This should include social distancing controls and how payments and any cash transactions should be made. All staff should receive training and the plan refreshed regularly. If you are using outside catering or agency staff, ensure they are also fully trained and aware of the risk assessment for your operation.
- Provide table service only for both food and drinks
- Ensure wedding events have a specific designated area for eating and drinking, with customers being seated at their designated place to eat and drink. Discourage guests from moving around the venue and remaining at their designated space.
- Signage on the entrance to the premises could include:
- Details of any access or movement restrictions (for example one-way systems).
- Details of face covering requirements.
- Customers to wash their hands before moving between sections or use hand sanitiser station provided.
- Requirement to adhere current social distancing requirements.
- Customers not to enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms
- ‘Goods in’, if using the same entrances as guests, to be received before or after guests, preferably a back of house delivery and similar care taken to cross contamination and social distancing. Marked social distance for deliveries. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting, extra attention to touch points, door handles and services.
- When utilising outdoor spaces, the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos or marquees should be implemented in such a way so as to ensure that they are compliant with the requirements under the Regulations and aligned with current public health advice. The effects of sunlight, wind direction and intensity, social distance and effective handwashing should all be considered.
- Specifically, if they are closed on all sides and roof/ceiling they are considered and treated as an internal environment, and should be treated as such. In contrast if they are open-sided (at least 3 sides or more than 51% open as per the Smoke-Free Premises and Vehicles (Wales) Regulations 2020) they are to be considered and treated as an external environment. It is imperative that if marquees or similar are to be used they need to be part of the premises’ risk assessments included in cleaning regimes, and monitored so as to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements. However, this should not undermine the COVID-19 security of the site and allow for social distancing between households to be maintained.
- Potential pinch points should be identified and monitored as part of the overall risk assessment in your operational plan.
- Social distancing should be maintained between customers of separate households at tables
- Your risk assessment should include reference to customer toilets, and monitoring of their use to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.
- Toilet areas should be regularly monitored and disinfected including frequent disinfection of high-frequency touch points in bathrooms and toilet areas.
- Contactless or room account payments should be used whenever possible.
- Customer contact with menus, trays, napkins etc. should be limited to what is necessary or designed in such a way that cleaning / replacement is carried out after each use.
- Methods to define social distancing must be considered and applied. For example, use of floor distance markers, barrier systems etc.
Services supporting the event
Contact your waste contractor to advise them of any changes in your procedures, such as increased frequency of collections. Consider additional litter bins on your premises to encourage customers to dispose of their own waste, including disposable face coverings. This will reduce the need for staff to touch items that have been left or touched by customers, as well as reducing littering on and around your premises.
Consider minimising lift usage in the venue, and advice for safer use of lifts throughout the venue can be advised in pre-wedding communications and in-building signage and staff communications. People should be encouraged to use the stairs wherever possible and practicable.
Advice to staff working in wedding venue kitchens
- Kitchen management is challenging, and will require planning and rearranging. See current Government guidelines regarding distancing in kitchens
- As wedding business are different, a detailed plan for the individual site and kitchen should be developed as part of your overall risk assessment, reviewed and communicated to all staff.
- In kitchens, continue to use your regular cleaning regime as usual, and at the end of the shift you may want to go over all hand touch surfaces one more time before closing.
- You could include guidance regarding the number of people allowed in the chilled stores or dry stores at one time, keeping to social distance requirements, or the changing rooms / staff toilet areas.
- Use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
The Technical Advisory Group: Air Cleaning Devices states that air cleaning devices are not a substitute for ventilation and every effort should be made to increase ventilation before considering them (high confidence). Air cleaning devices may be of benefit in poorly ventilated spaces where it is not possible to improve it be other means (medium confidence) but are of little use in well ventilated spaces.
See further advice above on ventilation.
Suspected COVID-19 cases in your business
Cleaning after a suspected contamination
Whether an infection is confirmed or suspected relating to your premises, there is specific guidance that should be followed which includes how to deal with cleaning venues safely. You should follow the guidance for cleaning non-healthcare settings.
Be aware that guidance can change, so always check the government sites if a case arises in your business.
It pays to make a plan for this eventuality before it happens and to make sure that you have the cleaning products you need. You also need to make sure that your staff are trained on new procedures.