'It's unfair' - Businesses and wedding couples braced for June 21 delays
- Credit: pixabay.com / nappy.co
From the couple rearranging their wedding for a fifth time to the business forced to fold, people across Norfolk and Waveney have revealed their fears over a potential delay to the Covid roadmap.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to today announce a delay to the roadmap to the lifting of restrictions of up to four weeks, with the possibility of a break of two weeks if cases reduce.
But for many businesses geared up to bounce back on June 21, and those in the throes of wedding planning, it is the worst possible news.
As well as currently planning his wedding, Andrew Dickerson, originally from Norwich, works in hospitality.
He believed a delay to June 21 would mean being forced to work “with one hand tied behind our backs”.
“I am one of the lucky ones in hospitality whose employer has been brilliant with support,” he said. “However, this is not always the case for other people in the industry.
“A great deal of employees are concerned for their jobs and many operators are struggling to achieve enough to break even due to the limits on capacity and low consumer confidence.”
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Mr Dickerson added that the government’s support was “slow” and in many cases “a teardrop in an ocean” with concerns for those in leasehold sites facing the impending end of the eviction ban.
Speaking about his wedding, he said they have tried to support local businesses where possible.
“An idea of the pressure they have been under, the person doing our wedding cake had 68 orders for 2020 pre-pandemic - she did two," he said.
“People cannot continue trading in the current environment indefinitely. For places like wedding venues that require more than 30 guests to break even, it is impossible.
“If these businesses go under, it will have a knock-on effect for suppliers and support services.”
Figures from the UK Weddings Taskforce claim the industry faces losses of more than £325m for each week delayed.
Tasha Raven from Corton, in Lowestoft, was due to get married to her fiancé Vince on July 31, 2020, but since then she has had to postpone the wedding three times.
The couple are now hoping to have the big day on July 30 this year at the Victoria Hotel in Lowestoft after postponing previous dates in October 2020 and February 2021.
Ms Raven said: "Our emotions have just been up and down and all over the place the past few days.
"If there is a four-week delay, we will have to cut numbers to 30 and go ahead with the wedding just to be on the safe side in case easing is delayed even further.
"I find it unfair that things like football matches can go ahead but those who want weddings are being penalised.”
Jenna Wilson, of Norwich, has had to rearrange her wedding five times.
She said: “We are booked for wedding date number five at the beginning of August. Just fingers crossed we come out of lockdown as hoped for.”
The government is considering a four-week delay due to another sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India. But even a short delay would be a bitter blow to many.
David Crowe-Wilde, and his partner Szara, have run their part-time eco-business Earthglade from home since November 2018.
They rely on stalls around the county to bring in revenue but over the last year, it has not been possible.
He said: “Our monthly outgoings are exceeding what we take online.
“We do have two events booked up on June 26/27 and July 10, but if the lockdown is extended this could affect if they go ahead.
“If this happens then it will certainly mean the end for us by the end of November when our yearly website and insurance fees are due.”
Craig Battison, of Great Yarmouth, said the length of lockdown was beginning to make him question his mental health.
“I thought I was mentally strong, but after over 16 months working from home, I cannot wait to start integrating with work colleagues again," he said.
“The end is in sight, if it’s next week or the week after, then it’s coming. Just don’t let it be another year.”