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Lockdown: 95% of summer weddings in Belgium cancelled

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Almost all weddings that were planned in July and August have been cancelled since the National Security Council announced the latest measures, according to the sector federation.

On 3 June, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès said that parties with catering could take place with a maximum of 50 people from 1 July when she laid out the dates and measures for Phase 3 of the country’s exit plan.

As Phase 4 and 5 will be announced, this number of guests could potentially be increased, but parties with a lot of guests will not be allowed before September.

“Couples do not want a wedding with fewer than 100 people, without a party. A very small percentage will still take place, but those are couples who really need to get married,” said Cynthia de Clercq, spokesperson HL Belgium, an organisation of providers of matrimonial services.

Since the announcement, almost all couples who had not yet done so, have cancelled their wedding plans during the summer months, according to HL Belgium.

Before the last National Security Council, about 20% of the planned summer weddings were still going through, but the figure fell to just under 5% after the announcement of the measures.

“We are disappointed and angry at the way the government works in the current crisis,” the organisation wrote immediately after the announcement, adding that the new rules caused confusion among couples and amounted to a “slap in the face” for the wedding industry.

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“2020 was a magical date, many couples waited for that number combination,” De Clercq said, adding that they will never be able to make up for their losses.

“Since a few days, it has become clear to us that we are one of the hardest-hit sectors. Especially since we do not get a hardship allowance. A lot of people are counting on their savings at the moment. We expect a lot of bankruptcies,” she added.

The sector was not “obligated” to close down because of the lockdown measures, and therefore cannot claim a government allowance.

Since April, the sector federation has repeatedly asked to sit around the table to find solutions for the companies involved, De Clercq said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times