What the Plan B Proposals would mean for Weddings in England
Under Plan B proposals being considered for England, in addition to wearing masks in more settings, proof that you are either fully vaccinated or medically exempt, would be required in certain settings.
However, for now (November 29th 2021), the government is stopping short of implementing the full Plan B, in favour of introducing masks in limited settings as well as increasing restrictions at borders and offering vaccines to more of the UK population.
Masks aren’t required in any hospitality settings, which is great news for weddings.
In his update to parliament this afternoon, The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP said:
“We’ve always known that a worrying new variant could be a threat to the progress that we’ve made as a nation.
We’re entering the winter in a strong position, thanks to the decisions we made in the summer and the defences that we have built.
Our vaccination programme has been moving at a blistering pace and this weekend we reached the milestone of 17 million boosters across the UK.
This means that even though cases have been rising, hospital admissions have fallen a further 11% in the past week and deaths have fallen by 17%.”
The Original Plan B proposals
Vaccine-only certification is considered preferable to closing venues entirely or returning to capacity limits or social distancing. It would allow settings that have previously been closed for long periods to remain open.
Most couples feel that ensuring attendees at weddings don’t pose a risk to others is preferable to wearing masks or restricting activities such as dancing. Very few weddings will be affected by Plan B.
How would mandatory Covid certification work?
Under the proposals, visitors to certain settings, venues and events would need to prove they are either vaccinated or medically exempt. Anyone working in these settings would have the option of vaccine-or-test certification.
Using the NHS App at the entrance to venues is proving challenging, so we are already seeing pre-arrival certification such as Trusted Trace being used by venues and events, to comply with the new laws while ensuring minimal disruption.
Which settings and events will require mandatory vaccine-only certification under the proposals:
- all nightclubs, and other venues open to the public after 1am with alcohol, music and dancing
- indoor, crowded settings with 500 or more attendees, without allocated seating, where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as music venues or large receptions
- outdoor, crowded settings with 4,000 or more attendees, without allocated seating, where those attendees are likely to be in close proximity to people from other households, such as outdoor festivals
- any settings with 10,000 or more attendees, such as large sports and music stadia.
Some settings will be exempt, such as:
- communal worship
- wedding ceremonies
- other commemorative events.
From the experts
It is important that wedding ceremonies and funerals remain exempt from vaccine-only certification. It seems that the government have finally acknowledged the importance in not restricting attendance at these culturally significant events.Alison Hargreaves, Wedding industry expert and Guides for Brides CEO
The following people would have an exemption from certification:
- anyone under 18 years of age
- police officers, local authority officers and emergency services responders acting in their official duties
- a diplomat or someone working for an international organisation.
The following have an exemption from vaccination, but still need a COVID Pass or international equivalent to demonstrate that they are medically exempt:
- COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants
- anyone with a clinically approved medical reason why they cannot vaccinate.
The possible reasons for medical exemption are limited, but include:
- people receiving end of life care where vaccination is not in the person’s best interests
- people with learning disabilities or autistic individuals, or people with a combination of impairments where vaccination cannot be provided through reasonable adjustments
- a person with severe allergies to all currently available vaccines
- those who have had an adverse reaction to the first dose (for example, myocarditis)
- those with an exemptions for a short-term medical condition
- pregnant women* who choose not to be vaccinated, however the exemption will expire 16 weeks after giving birth.
*Pregnant women can use MAT B1 certificates to show their COVID status in place of a medical exemption NHS COVID Pass.
What is vaccine-only certification?
Vaccine-only certification requires you to demonstrate that it is at least 2 weeks since you have completed a full course of vaccination in England, Wales or Scotland, or that you are medically exempt.
What is vaccine-or-test certification?
Vaccine-or-test certification requires you to demonstrate one of the following:
- it is at least 2 weeks since you completed a full course of vaccination in England, Wales or Scotland.
- a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of entry to a venue. At-home and on-site tests are both accepted, but a lateral flow test taken at home will need to be reported into the public reporting system
- proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test result for COVID-19, lasting for 180 days from the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period.
For either the vaccine-only certification or the vaccine-or-test certification you will need to use the NHS App, the NHS website (NHS.UK) or request a letter via 119 (select ‘NHS COVID Pass service’). You will only need your NHS number if you are using the App.
When using pre-arrival certification such as Trusted Trace you simply upload a photo, screenshot or PDF of your NHS evidence.
It is important to note that Plan B has not yet been implemented and that the proposals included in the government’s draft document may be adjusted as a result of the consultation they have undertaken.
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