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The wedding venue owner says there is not enough support

The wedding venue owner has expressed dismay at the Covid-19 rules that are making much of the wedding industry unprofitable.

Mandy Baker-Bird, who runs Yorkshire Wedding Barns in Gilling West, near Richmond, said she’s struggled to keep her staff up and running due to the strict rules of not having more than 15 guests at a wedding.

Despite trying to keep the business going by opening a 250-person pop-up restaurant in her barn, making social distancing so easy, she has been fined a potential £ 10,000 fine to 55 To allow individuals to attend a meal to celebrate a wedding earlier in the year.

She said, “I just want to get the message across on behalf of the entire wedding industry that the support we have had is not enough to save the industry.

“It’s not just us and not just venues – florists, caterers, musicians, photographers, and makeup artists, to name a few, are struggling, and I know some local companies that have gone out of business.

“We received a scholarship and applied the vacation program, but it’s a drop in the bucket if you think we haven’t been able to operate in the last six months and have a prospect of not having weddings for the next six Months.

“Other countries around the world are hosting weddings with numbers based on a percentage of the venue’s capacity. Hence, large venues can hold larger weddings in a socially distant manner.

Yorkshire Wedding Barns in Gilling West, near Richmond Picture by Sarah Caldecott

“We could easily hold larger weddings as our barn can accommodate 250 people.

“The wedding industry is worth £ 14 billion to the UK economy. I find it amazing that the government feels like it can just throw them aside and not give us a lifeline.

“They’re not even going to discuss a strategy for increasing capacity with us. If they want to lock us up, do it and pay us. If not, let’s make some cash – how can a wedding company with 15 people make a profit? ”

Ms. Baker-Bird said that not only did she fail to generate income, but she also had to spend tens of thousands of pounds in refunds when couples cancel their weddings.

She said, “We’re better off being closed and having access to other grants.

“We opened a pop-up restaurant, but even though it keeps our staff busy, it doesn’t make a lot of money because we’re new and not very busy.

“We just want to be a wedding venue again and make people aware of the troubles the industry is in. The government just doesn’t seem to care.”

A North Yorkshire Police Department spokesman said: “On Saturday October 10th, police received a number of reports of a wedding at a venue in Gilling West, Richmondshire that was attended by more than 60 guests.

“According to the coronavirus regulations, a maximum of 15 are allowed.

“The officials peacefully distributed the wedding guests, many of whom were from areas that are currently stricter local regulations.

“The venue owner has received a warning and is being reported for violating coronavirus regulations regarding weddings.”

A spokesman for Rishi Sunak MP said Mr. Sunak had assisted Ms. Baker-Bird and accessed tens of thousands of pounds in assistance, including a grant, government-sponsored loan, and the vacation program for her employees.


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