Trusted Trace used for the Welsh Government Weddings Pilot at Iscoyd Park
A wedding pilot event has been successfully completed for the Welsh Government at Iscoyd Park in North Wales. The pilot was to test whether safe weddings could go ahead in Wales without restrictions on social interaction or the need for face coverings, as long as all attendees (both guests and those working) proved that they had had a negative lateral flow test before the wedding.
The weddings track and trace software, Trusted Trace, was used for the trial. You can read the findings below.
Trusted Trace was also used for the weddings pilot in England, carried out in September 2020 by Public Health England and DCMS. The software is available on a monthly subscription for all venues and event hosts to use, in order to comply with their risk assessments and to reassure staff and guests. Surveys suggest that between 84% and 86% of couples would like venues to encourage guests to supply evidence of a lateral flow test prior to arrival. Trusted Trace gives venues a quick and easy way to encourage testing.
Date of wedding pilot: 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 within 24 hours prior to 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 freely.
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 and potentially “super spreader” events for the transmission of Covid. Because friends and family are coming together to celebrate, it is harder to instil social distancing rules and general Covid mitigations.
The point of the Pilot was to address the areas of concern, and show that 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 that are hard to police.
By testing beforehand, it is possible to substantially to decrease the risk of someone attending the wedding who has Covid and then causing further spread. By testing 48 hours after the wedding, it is possible to double check that no cases resulted from the wedding itself. If cases did occur, it is possible to immediately contact all the guests and control and monitor the spread.
The lead up
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 specifically for the wedding industry, called Trusted Trace. This allowed us to communicate with all guests in line with UK-GDPR, collect evidence of their negative test result and check them in to the venue with their unique QR code, which they received once they had submitted their result. 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 attend. 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 for 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.