31 Aug 2021
Date of wedding: Saturday July 24th, 2021
A scheduled wedding with 95 guests and 45 staff and suppliers to be allowed to take place with no social distancing requirements, no masks from guests, no limited table numbers, dancing permitted.
All guests, suppliers and staff had to provide proof of a negative Lateral Flow test that was taken not less than 24 hours before the wedding.
All guests suppliers and staff had to provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test 48 hours after the wedding.
The aim of the Pilot:
The aim of the pilot was to show that by putting in mitigations around testing rather than restrictions to normal wedding practice, wedding venues could run a safe event, despite friends and family mingling, dancing, and celebrating.
Iscoyd and a group of 5 Welsh wedding venues have held regular meetings with Welsh Government throughout the pandemic. There was a strong perception by Government that weddings are dangerous, potentially “super spreader” events for the transmission of Covid. Because friends and family are coming together to celebrate it is harder to instill social distancing rules and general COVID mitigations.
Our point that be addressing the areas of concern weddings are a safer environment and easier to control than other events and settings that involved larger groups of people. These life-affirming and celebratory events create a level of compliance with guests that are unique to weddings. Friends and family coming together have a vested interest to protect one another. Because a wedding is such an important day for people, family and guests are generally more willing to get involved in testing before and after weddings if it helps protect the other guests themselves and if it allows them the freedom to celebrate without restrictions in place which are hard to police.
By testing beforehand, it is possible substantially to decrease the risk of someone attending the wedding who has COVID and would then cause further spread. By testing 48 hours after it is possible to double-check that no cases resulted from the wedding. If cases did occur it is possible immediately to contact all the guests and control and monitor the spread.
Once Iscoyd had been chosen for the event we had to present a risk assessment for the event to Welsh Government, the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) for Wrexham Borough. The SAG was made up of representatives from North Wales police, the Fire Brigade, the ambulance service, environmental health, and the Registrar’s office. The risk assessment was discussed and tweaked and then signed off once the SAG and Public Health Wales were happy to proceed.
We used software that had been developed for the wedding industry called Trusted Trace. This allowed us to communicate with all guests in line with GDPR, collect evidence of their negative test results,s and check them into the venue with their unique QR code which they received once they had submitted their results. It meant we could identify anyone who had not submitted their result or anyone who had problems uploading it and sort this out before they entered the venue. We used this system to contact everyone again and remind them to upload their post-wedding results. We were able to separate guests and staff and suppliers. Iscoyd presented Trusted Trace to Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and SAG and it had to be approved before use.
100% compliance with pre-wedding testing from guests, suppliers and staff and submitting photographic evidence
100% guests reporting back 48 hours after, 90% submitting photographic evidence
1 guest tested positive before the wedding and did not come.
No cases of COVID 19 48 hours after the wedding.
The Pilot Wedding showed very high levels of compliance and willingness to test by wedding guests in order for the wedding to proceed without restrictions.
The value of being allowed to come together and being able to celebrate without onerous restrictions in return or testing is perceived by guests to be a “good deal” and increases the willingness to comply.
The majority of guests are happy to help keep their family and friends safe.
Policing social distancing and all the previous restrictions is difficult for a venue whereas testing before and after is relatively simple
By testing before and after a safe environment was created. The extra measure of being able to quickly trace all attendees in case of any infection means it would be possible to control and stop any spread to the wider community should a positive case get past the initial testing.
Testing before and after can be advised to all clients as a matter of course.
If there was a future need for restrictions the pilot shows that the testing to create a safe environment rather than other mitigations that can ruin a wedding could be used as a way of keeping the wedding sector running.
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