by Nicholas Russell, Managing Director, Balbirnie House
The existing Scottish Government guidelines allow for someone who has Covid (but does not know they have Covid), to attend a wedding. It is a risk therefore to everyone, fellow wedding guests and hospitality workers alike. If common sense prevails wedding venues could deliver Covid-free weddings. Nicholas Russell has presented his solution to the Scottish Government and is awaiting their response. This is what he has to say.
A s things stand now, Scotland’s government has issued updated guidelines, which seemingly paves the way for citizens who may not know they have Covid, to attend weddings. Thereby placing fellow guests and hospitality workers at risk.
Guidelines currently allow 50 wedding guests, rising to 100 guests on 7th June. Face coverings are required, social distancing is to be in place, alcohol is permitted, as is live music without dancing. This is, to say the very least, going to be a challenging set of circumstances.
We can now prove that there is a better, safer way in which to proceed. We therefore call simply, for logic. What we outline below can similarly be applied very quickly across the span of hospitality.
Eleven thousand people went clubbing in Liverpool last week, without any social distancing, but we still can’t have dancing at weddings? There is a solution.
We now have over 300 future weddings booked at Balbirnie House. It is likely that England will have removed all social distancing restrictions on 21st June but we don’t have a date for this in Scotland.
In the meantime, what about all the weddings taking place between now, and when Scotland’s government issues ‘guidance’ and a date for the removal of social distancing.
From all ongoing discussions with our many clients, nobody wants to have wedding pictures showing everyone with face coverings. They want to to dance. Simply put, weddings wish to revert back to normality, with all love and celebration with nearest and dearest … that is the love, humanity and tradition of weddings and celebrations.
Over recent days our main twitter feed has been contemplating Balbirnie House pro-actively creating a temporary Covid ‘safety system’, which would enable us to fully re-open for weddings without social distancing requirements. NB Optional and only for wedding clients who wish to do so.
The header tweet has now been contemplated by over 22,500 people, and there are currently no valid reasons stated whatsoever, as to why we should not proceed.
The proposed system is based on Liverpool’s trials last week which appears to have been a success. This was made possible by everyone confirming negative Covid test results.
Balbirnie House would propose to go one step further, by also investing in a wedding Trusted Trace App.
But we could only do this, if all relevant wedding guests were in agreement to all working together to ensure everything is 100% intact.
(If a wedding wishes NOT to go ahead with what we propose, and to proceed as per the existing Government guidelines in relation to social distancing, face coverings, no dancing etc, then stating the obvious we can do that).
We have the team in place, the infrastructure and capabilities to deliver what we propose.
There is now a service to order free packs of rapid lateral flow tests to be sent to your home.
In addition, there are now Community testing sites available across Fife, providing quick and easy access to testing.
Current Scotland government guidance for weddings is split into SHOULD and MUST.
The MUST legal requirements include: ‘Guests MUST wear face coverings (inside) other than when eating and drinking’ – an interpretation of that is if you have a glass in your hand, you are drinking. The other MUST is in relation to closure timings at the end of the special day, straightforward …
Everything else, is stated as guidance – all of it.
We need to respect the rule of law, but we can certainly choose to re-interpret how we can proceed with the combination of hospitality and guidance, if we can deliver a new system that renders the guidance as obsolete.
Our thinking is, that as we can deliver this ‘system’, our Risk Assessments can then also incorporate the logic of our hotel brigade taking eg twice weekly Covid tests, and on that basis, we immediately then revert back to normality for weddings.
If everything and everyone is Covid-free, and App records are flawless, we would be happy to accept that all other forms of guidance can be logically re-interpreted back to a return to normality. And perhaps even more importantly, in creating the proposed system we can see no valid reason as to how or why any representative of any authority should wish us not to proceed, let alone having any law in place to prevent us from proceeding.
The same testing requirements and App process would similarly be required for anyone visiting the hotel to provide services in association with the special day.
Our ability to provide the backdrop for any wedding, is of course fully dependent on anything that becomes a new legal requirement in Scotland.
What are your thoughts? If you have your wedding booked, would you be happy for all guests to proceed with this?
Many people are nervous about everything that has happened, would this ‘safety system’ give confidence in attending weddings?
Let’s go a stage further. The most heartbreaking thing we are seeing today, is incoming enquiries one after another about making bookings for example, for Golden Weddings. So if we created the above ‘system’ for weddings, we can also create it for Golden Weddings.
Any feedback most appreciated,
MD Balbirnie House