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24th August 2020

Science Coronavirus: Scottish wedding guidelines ‘absolutely bonkers’

Science Coronavirus: Scottish wedding guidelines ‘absolutely bonkers’


science Gretna WeddingImage copyright
Getty Images

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Gretna Green is one of Scotland’s most popular wedding destinations

The operator of one of Scotland’s most popular wedding venues has described current guidelines for ceremonies as “absolutely bonkers”.

No more than 20 people are currently allowed to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership.

Alasdair Houston, the chairman of Gretna Green Ltd, said limits on guests could have a “catastrophic” effect.

The Scottish government has said physical distancing at weddings was being kept under review.

Wedding receptions are still subject to the rules that apply for other indoor and outdoor gatherings – three households and up to eight people indoors, or five households and up to 15 people outside.

Mr Houston said he wanted to see what he called “sensible-sized weddings” of 30 guests for both ceremony and reception.

“The situation now is absurd, it is absolutely bonkers and there is no strong science that I can see or anybody has been able to explain to me to support it,” he claimed.

Image copyright
Gretna Green Ltd

Image caption

Thousands of ceremonies take place each year in the area

He said 30 guests in a “controlled environment” seemed a “reasonable start”.

However he said that under current guidelines, 20 close family and friends could go to the ceremony, but 12 of them would then have to be told to “clear off” for the meal.

His calls have been backed by Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson.

He said it was “incredibly frustrating and annoying” that the wedding sector had not been mentioned in the latest announcement of changes to restrictions.

Mr Carson said the industry needed a “clear route” like those provided to other sectors.

Science ‘Particularly difficult’

A Scottish government statement said: “Where people and households come together there will always be a potential, but real risk of transmission of the virus.

“Adherence to physical distancing will likely be particularly difficult at an emotional time for people, such as celebrating an event such as a marriage and civil partnership.”

The statement said weddings were likely to involve households “gathering more closely” than people meeting in pubs and restaurants where they were in their own groups.

“Our priority remains suppressing the virus, which continues to pose real risks, and saving lives,” it added.

The next formal review of lockdown restrictions is on 20 August.


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