Coronavirus and weddings
Coronavirus (Covid-19) and weddings.
Should you go ahead with your wedding?
Update: 25th March, 2020: The Australian government has now limited ALL weddings to 5 people only, inclusive of the celebrant. i.e. the couple, their 2 witnesses, and the celebrant. I did my first one of these last night. Magdalé and Matthew decided to be married last night, 24th march 2020 and to save the party and larger ceremony for later!
Update: 22nd March 2020: “The NSW and Victorian Governments will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus”
Edited on the 21st March 2020 to reflect the current situation.
I am neither a health care provider, a virologist or an epidemiologist. Please take heed of current Australian government advice.
There is a bunch of information and uncertainty out there at the moment regarding the new Coronavirus, (Covid-19) and the impacts it will/is having on the health system, tourism sector, and economic markets.
Epidemics and pandemics do pass, but it is unknown right now how long it will be before life as we know it returns to normal. And until a vaccine is developed and tested (12 to 18 months from now) and/or we develop immunity by being exposed to the live virus (never an ideal scenario), we need to face the fact that none of us are immune yet. So we need to take precautions in protecting ourselves and others as much as we possibly can.
Your vendors also have a responsibility to do everything in their power to provide an environment that is safe for you and your guests. With a virus however, the expectation or wish for a guarantee of safety is something that nobody can provide you with.
UPDATE: as of 21st March, 2020, the Australian government has put further measures in place.
- From the Prime Minister: “what we are now moving to is an arrangement for gatherings of less than 100, is that there would be 4 square metres provided per person in an enclosed space, in a room. So that’s 2 metres by 2 metres.
“So for example, if you’ve got a room, if you’ve got a premises, if you’ve got a meeting room or something like that, that is 100 square metres, then you can have 25 people in that room.
“Now, in addition to that, you should continue to practise wherever possible the 1 metre or 1.5 metres of healthy distance between each of us, to ensure that we are limiting the contact and limiting the potential for the spread of the virus.”
- The Government has specified that the “fewer than 100 people” and new spacing limit rules do apply in these places and situations:
- Cinemas and theatres
- Restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs
From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.
All travellers to Australia are required to self-isolate for 14 days, either at home or in a hotel.
- First and foremost, remember what your wedding day is about. It is about marrying the love of your life. Be flexible. You could marry them on the day you have planned, or it could happen a bit further down the track.
- Perhaps you are in the position of being able to have a small ceremony or elopement and save the reception for later, when things calm down.
- Do you have vulnerable people attending your wedding? As per the Department of Health,
these are the most at-risk groups:
- people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer)
- elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
- people with chronic medical conditions
- people in group residential settings
- people in detention facilities
We need to look after the vulnerable in our communities. Technology could be an option to keep them included on the day. Skype-ing, live streaming, recording, getting them to pre-record a well-wish message etc.
- Respectfully asking your guests to NOT attend if they have a cough, runny nose, fever or other symptoms. That’s OK. Don’t feel weird about doing that. This is a social responsibility that we all must wear.
- Can you ensure that your guests will be able to observe social distancing recommendations- standing 1.5 m apart and for indoor spaces will each person be able to stay within a 2m x 2m space at all times?
- Do you have insurances that are able to cover you? If so, give them a call and see what is and isn’t covered. Perhaps more of it will be covered than you think, perhaps not. Perhaps some vendors may be willing to put postponement policies in for you.
- We want to try and minimise the spread of this virus or at least slow it down and that means social distancing and hygienic practices.
- Consider the amount of physical contact you normally have at weddings and work out ways prior to the day to limit the hugging and kissing, and dancing cheek to cheek.
What about your celebrant?
I can only speak for myself. I will observe all hygiene practices including not shaking hands or hugging you when normally I might! I will no longer be providing or using microphones. I will have tissues, as always, on hand, because weddings are happy and people cry. I will provide a bin for the disposal of these tissues after the ceremony if the venue cannot. Once again, it is not my place to advise you on whether or not to go ahead with your event, but I will be following all government advice. I am not an epidemiologist, nor a health care provider. I do advise that you consider an elopement at this stage and save your bigger gathering/party for later. I hope that this post has been informative and will provide some useful links for you. I understand how upsetting, disappointing and heart-breaking this situation is for everyone and I deeply empathise. Please get in touch if you have any questions and in the meantime here are some links to keep you up to date:
From the Australia Health Department: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
For travellers: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/
World Health Organisation advice: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Current cases worldwide: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/