21/03/2020 09.53: Please read all the Coronavirus Page before jumping to this page.
Legal Disclaimer: The comments contained within this page are my own personal opinion and beliefs – the content on this page cannot be relied upon to be true, financially accurate or medically correct and may not be the same views as the staff and in no way represent any legal or contractual obligation.
Here are my personal thoughts on what is going on and how people should plan for the future in an ever-changing world. I will update this page and will post any Customer comments Questions and Answers gradually here as well. So if you have a Question to ask me personally for publication and answering on this page, email me direct at email@example.com
Well, first thoughts are for our Brides and Grooms who have worked so hard planning their perfect day. How awful all this is! What an incredible and unexpected change to all our lives. This is a once in a century, possibly once in 300 years event. However with global connectivity, this is also something we have to expect happening again. This period will be a learning curve for how we adapt as a species to future outbreaks.
But there is a positive. All your plans are still exactly the same - just the date has changed. That may sound silly, and the problem is you do not know when to book a date into. But as someone once said to me, when going through a bad period, This Too Will Pass.
And it will, what no one knows is WHEN.
So what would I recommend is first you read and absorb everything on the Coronavirus page. I am not going to repeat what is there; here, I am going to use this page for further thoughts, as I have them.
How do you plan in this situation? Weddings need to be planned a year in advance. It is not like going to the pub or booking a restaurant meal, which you can do at a moment's notice. Well I have been answering this question on our chat service and here is my take on this:
23 MILLION Super Spreaders?
The Daily Telegraph this morning has an article that says scientists think 23 million are infected and do not know it. I have a silly tickly cough and absolutely no other symptoms and reckon like those 23m others that I am fine but that 23m number makes one wonder. That is a quarter of the population. So let us say this huge number is true, then it is a bit like a vaccine you get. Is this a mild version we are all getting without realising it? Could this mean some of us are effectively being vaccinated against it and we may all be building up immunity? Known as Herd Immunity. But herd immunity only works if there is no mutation in the virus.
We will not know until they can finally roll out testing on everyone's antibodies. This is a long way off as they cannot even test the NHS staff yet. They are only at 5,700 tests a day when I last looked for testing. However the really important testing is going to be to see who has had it without knowing (I would have thought) and who therefore may have immunity. This could all change very fast if we find already half the population are immune - known as 'herd immunity'.
However this also means the mortality rates are going to peak fast and awfully and the NHS is going to be overwhelmed if this all goes horribly wrong in next few weeks. No wonder the Government is taking such measures. We have all been unwisely complacent and it is clear as crystal to me that we must not mix with other people for at least 2-3 months and watch what the Government says daily. We could all be becoming super spreaders without realising it. It could even turn out most of us are well, and spreading coronavirus without knowing it. Testing is insufficient to find out what the real mortality rate is if we do not know who has had it - as a planet we are so unaware of who has in effect been vaccinated and has herd immunity. This will remain so until we can test 'everyone'. I have a personal theory but it may be proved completely wrong, that mortality rates once, or if, 'everyone' is tested, could prove much lower than we think now, but that is not going to help the headlines now. On this more optimistic basis, the future may not be so awful one year hence.
I can see why they have to close everything down now but this is going to cause more people to mix with different people as their lives are turned upside down. This could in the short term increase spread, so it is important we all avoid contact with each other and especially the elderly given the implications of 23m having it and being super spreaders.
I PREDICT a rolling period of OPENINGS and CLOSINGS over THE NEXT 12 months at least - carrying us forward therefore to March 2021.
This is my personal view and it affects my thoughts on your wedding date. This does not help us financially (what will happen to the idea of 'money' will be debated at length in this new Universal Credit / Helicopter Money era) telling you this but there could be some benefit to you as a client and us as a venue if we tell you this now.
1. I think there is going to be a rolling period of openings and closures. This means venues are probably going to be able to re-open for a month here and there, before closing again.
2. The Government say this will last a year. So expect rolling re-openings and re-closures for the next year. The answer therefore is for a wedding trying to plan ahead, to reserve and then to BOOK a date one year ahead and then watch our Last Minute offers should they be able to jump 'backwards' into a short notice date. We anticipate venues will be eager to get weddings into these 're-opening' periods, with greater use of Last Minute deals, but that this will be difficult for Couples to plan as such relaxation periods could be short notice and limited in duration.
3. It could be wishful thinking as I cannot see the Govt saying in advance to venues, "We will allow everyone to open in one months’ time for one month then close again." But who knows? As you need to give a month's notice to a Registrar, this is the only system that could work for wedding venues. We will be pushing for A SYSTEM OF ADVANCE NOTICE on openings and closings if this is at all possible but such thoughts are premature at the moment. Something like this could happen once this is got under control, it is something for the future as we cycle in and out of quarantine on a rolling basis over the next year at least.
So my advice is to look into 2021 by which time this will hopefully be all over and watch what goes on.
4. If you can take a short notice date and enough notice is given of an opening period, this will be an opportunity for us to offer good deals and to help all wedding venues out financially. But against this, you need to consider guest safety. The process of building up Herd Immunity on a rolling basis, if that becomes 'policy' as I suspect it will, does mean allowing people to be exposed to the virus in a controlled way. This would mean short notice last minute weddings should not invite elderly relatives and those with underlying medical conditions and should expect quarantine conditions to be reimposed fast at little notice, should infections spread again too fast. Wedding Clients will need to watch the news carefully to make their decisions. Wedding Venues and all Wedding Suppliers should waive all their 'postponement' conditions and charges for all bookings in this period of uncertainty.
5. Are you an optimist? If so you could anticipate (3) above and think, OK will they re-open venues for the summer wedding season and then close again for the winter? This is another possibility if the virus is got under control and testing can be increased. You could just watch and wait if your wedding is in Aug or Sep. Recent press articles show scientists expect the peak in coronavirus to be in June and July. We do anticipate a period of opening in the Aug period, then a repeat closure. This is a complete guess and of course no one knows. For your own certainty, as much as you can get any certainty in these times, I suggest you just book into 2021 and if you are able to move back into one of these anticipated 'relaxation' of quarantine periods, remember your guests safety is paramount.
If Government relaxes quarantine it won't mean it is safe for the elderly again, it will mean they think the NHS is ready to cope with more cases and permit us to have more infections to in turn move towards herd immunity. Herd Immunity is going to develop in parallel with attempts to find a vaccine and ensure drugs, equipment and resources are all stepped up to improve treatment. Watch the news daily, you will like us soon have plenty of time to do that!
6. How can we tell the future? Normally you cannot but actually we can predict a lot as this disease unfolds. We will increasingly be able to predict the future, based on what happens in other countries, who are ahead of us on the curve. I am watching CHINA. If they are honest about their data (a big If) and get it under control, then that too is what is likely to happen here. This is all going to move very fast over the next few days and weeks.