Guidance for couples planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England, and venues hosting these events.
Applies to England
The government has published its plan for living with COVID-19.
- You’re no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. People who test positive for COVID-19 should continue to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.
- You’re no longer legally required to self-isolate if you’re an unvaccinated close contact, and are no longer advised to test for 7 days if you’re a fully vaccinated close contact.
This guidance is designed to assist people planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England, and venues that host ceremonies and receptions, to enable them to conduct them in a manner that reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
This guidance applies to all weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and formations taking place in England as well as wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations.
Alternative wedding ceremonies that are not binding under the law, whether religious, belief based, blessings, or other forms of non-statutory ceremony, are also covered by this guidance.
Those wishing to conduct a religious ceremony should refer to the places of worship guidance.
Keeping yourself and others safe
It’s important that we all use personal judgement to manage our own risk. All of us can play our part by exercising common sense and considering the risks. There are steps everyone can take to reduce the risk of transmission:
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19, even if they’re mild, should not attend. This includes the couple, attendees, and anyone working or involved in the ceremony or reception.
People who have COVID-19 are no longer legally required to self-isolate. Workers or customers who have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive test result, should follow the public health advice to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They should not attend work. If a worker is unable to work from home, you should talk to them about the options available to them. For example, they may be entitled to statutory sick pay.
The government suggests that people continue to wear a face covering in enclosed and crowded spaces. People are encouraged to respect other attendees and those working at events who may wish to adopt a more cautious approach. Please refer to the guidance on how to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 for further information and the actions to take to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
A face covering is something which safely covers your mouth and nose. Face coverings work best if they are made with multiple layers (at least 2 and preferably 3) and form a good fit around the nose and mouth.
Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, the government suggests that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet, when rates of transmission are high.
Where worn correctly, this may reduce the risk of transmission to themselves and others. Be aware that workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.
Businesses can choose to encourage visitors or workers to wear a face covering. Consider encouraging the use of face coverings by visitors and workers in enclosed and crowded spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
When deciding your approach to face coverings, you need to consider the reasonable adjustments for staff and visitors with disabilities. You also need to consider carefully how this fits with other obligations to visitors and workers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
Some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances.
Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.
Let fresh air in
When events take place inside or in other enclosed spaces, consider how the space can be continually well ventilated, before, during and after the event.
Letting fresh air into indoor spaces is important because when a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks or breathes, they release droplets and aerosols which can be inhaled by other people. The more fresh air there is to breathe, the less likely other people are to inhale infectious particles. Read the guidance on ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms but can still infect others. Testing increases the chances of detecting COVID-19 when a person is infectious, helping to make sure people don’t spread COVID-19.
You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test if you expect there will be a period of high risk that day or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they were infected with COVID-19. Tests are available from pharmacies or online. Find out more about how to get rapid lateral flow tests.
Using the NHS Covid Pass
From 1 April 2022, the government will remove the current guidance on domestic voluntary COVID-status certification and will no longer recommend that certain venues use the NHS COVID Pass.
The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they’re at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
It’s no longer mandatory for high-risk events and venues to check the COVID-19 status of attendees. However, weddings with large numbers of attendees may choose to continue to check the COVID-19 status of attendees and the workforce to keep everyone safer.
Returning to the workplace
The government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can.
You should talk to your workers to agree arrangements to return to the office, consulting with workers and trade unions where appropriate. You should remain responsive to workers’ needs and consult with them on any health and safety measures you have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. You should give extra consideration to people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties.
When considering working arrangements, employers should take into account their other existing legal obligations.
When considering workers return to their place of work, you should:
- reflect this in your risk assessment
- take action to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance
People who have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result
Objective: To encourage workers not to attend the workplace when positive with COVID-19.
People who have COVID-19 are no longer legally required to self-isolate. Workers who have the main symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive test result, should follow the public health advice to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They should not attend work.
- not ask workers with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result to come to work
- enable workers to work from home if they have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result. If a worker is unable to work from home, you should talk to them about the options available, such as receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- refer workers to the COVID-19 guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts
A worker who has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive test result, may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). See current guidance related to SSP due to COVID-19 for:
Unvaccinated close contacts of those who have COVID-19 are no longer legally required to self-isolate, and vaccinated close contacts are no longer advised to test for 7 days.
Workers who live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 should follow the COVID-19 guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts. They should work from home if they are able to do so.
Protecting the vulnerable
People at higher risk are advised to follow the guidance on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
They should take advice from their health professional on whether additional precautions are right for them.
Handling objects and communal resources
Surfaces can become contaminated with viruses like COVID-19. Once contaminated, touching them can transfer viruses to people’s eyes, nose or mouth. From there, viruses can enter someone’s body and infect them. This means that, touching or kissing objects that are handled communally including consumables, carries a risk of catching or spreading a virus.
The use of shared communal objects, including consumables, is now a personal choice. However, you’re advised to follow the advice on personal hygiene.
Singing, music, and performances
There are no limits on the number of people who can sing or perform indoors or outdoors. However, some activities can also increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices.
The risk is greatest where these activities take place when people are in close contact with others, for example in crowded indoor spaces where people are raising their voices.
In situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19, you should be particularly careful to follow the guidance on keeping yourself and others safe.
Businesses and venues
All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance.
Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks identified. Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:
- cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
- identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow
- ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
- communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place
Food and drink
Where food and drinks are consumed, staff and attendees should follow the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services.
If somebody from abroad is travelling to England to attend a marriage or a civil partnership ceremony or reception, they should check the advice on travelling to England.
This guidance has been published alongside other specific guidance provided by the government (all of which is subject to review and update), which should be used together to ensure public safety. These include:
- guidance for the safe use of places of worship
- guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services
- guidance for hotels and guest accommodation
- guidance for events and attractions
- guidance on face coverings
- guidance on maintaining records to support NHS Test and Trace
- guidance on protecting vulnerable people