The wedding sector in Belgium is furious after the National Security Council decided to allow gatherings of up to 50 people after a funeral, but did not relax measures for wedding parties on Thursday.
After the wedding sector has seen most of its earnings for the spring and summer months disappear because of the measures taken to stop the further spread of the coronavirus, Cynthia De Clercq of the federation of wedding service providers HL Belgium is also seeing all the bookings for September cancelled now.
"The whole sector is bleeding, and it will not stop," De Clercq told The Brussels Times, adding that the sector was hopeful that several measures would be relaxed after Thursday's National Security Council, allowing parties with a larger number of people, if they would keep to the rules.
"A script for private parties has been on the table at the cabinets since June," De Clercq said, adding that there will be no dancing and that the script takes into account the social distancing measures and the face mask obligation.
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"Therefore, it is not incomprehensible that the sector is reacting furiously to the fact that weddings are not even mentioned during the press conference," she said.
"We now know that wedding parties are forbidden because of their familial character and the fear of physical contact, kissing and hugging," said De Clercq, adding that this "exactly the same scenario" as when people gather to mourn after a funeral.
The government's decision means that the September bookings are now also being cancelled. "As a result, after 6 months of inactivity, companies cannot bridge the winter with healthy figures."
The decision to not relax measures is not only a financial blow to the sector, but a mental one as well, she said.
In July, weddings were allowed to take place with up to 50 people again, which would become 100 in August, if the situation evolved favourably. However, instead of a relaxation, the rules were tightened to a maximum of 10 people.
"And now, for September, they do not even mention us anymore," De Clercq said.
The Brussels Times