Events boss calls for help to avoid job losses in ‘decimated’ wedding industry
The owner of a Norfolk banqueting firm who lost £20,000 in a week in lockdown is calling for action to avoid writing off the year.
David Robinson, director of The Banqueting Hire Service in Tivetshall St Mary, near Diss, which has been supplying equipment for weddings for 40 years, saw bookings nosedive in March as brides and grooms cancelled their big day.
Even though the government has now eased some restrictions on weddings, Mr Robinson said it isn’t enough to save much of the year for the associated businesses.
Mr Robinson reckons he’s lost around 80pc of his business for 2020 and if no further easing is granted, then it could be up to 95pc.
“If the government doesn’t do something, for the wedding industry, the entire year will be written off,” he said.
“We have weddings booked with couples hanging on for August and September. If we were able to salvage some of August but especially weddings from September onwards, I believe it would be the difference between many businesses surviving the pandemic, allowing them to make it to 2021, which should be a bumper year.
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“Unlike a restaurant or café, we are unable to simply start up working again on a few weeks’ or days’ notice. The industry must have a guide timeline in place for weddings from the government to avoid catastrophic business and job losses.”
Currently numbers at a wedding reception, not the ceremony, are limited to just six if it isn’t at a licensed venue. For businesses associated with weddings – such as marquees, banqueting service hire, lighting, entertainment and wedding cakes, their business is being affected, he said.
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He added that couples are either postponing or cancelling their big day because they want to have more guests or won’t fork out on lavish services for such a small reception.
Mr Robinson is calling on the government to give them some indication if the restrictions will be eased further.
“How can we get the same amount of help than those who aren’t even a quarter as badly affected as we are? While the hospitality sector, specifically restaurants, cafes and pubs, have been allowed to reopen from July 4 with a one metre social distancing in place, by contrast the wedding industry has been left decimated for the foreseeable future.”