A lot have changed ever since the pandemic of Coronavirus started. Major games like basketball, football, soccer have been postponed indefinitely. Even a well known basketball star tested positive to the said virus. All around the world, people's lives have been altered and changed drastically. No one had ever even thought this kind of pandemic would be possible in this day and age. Another change this virus has caused is the way we interact with other people. Gatherings such as church assemblies and weddings are all not allowed to take place in the new normal. But there's good news though, Australia is now taking into consideration how important these occasions are and is making some exemptions possible. So when exactly can a bride and a groom finally say their “I do’s” without feeling like they are breaking some kind of law?
Prime Minister Scott Morisson has announced that wedding restrictions are finally being lifted and that even though certain guidelines must still be followed, such gatherings are now being allowed. According to him, a three stage process will be done ending this July as the restrictions are slowly lifted. This exit strategy was carefully analyzed and thought off to make sure the curve will not be heightened once these kinds of gatherings are finally, and slowly, allowed to take place.
The three stage process breaks down as the following:
- Weddings can now be allowed but can only have a maximum of 10 guests, already including the bride and the groom. One important thing must be followed though, all contact details of the attendees and everyone present on the said occasion must be gathered just in case mass tracing must be done afterwards.
- The number of guests in the second stage will be expanded up to 20 guests at weddings.
- Third stage allows up to 100 guests in weddings. Even in funerals and religious gatherings.
According to the Prime Minister, the end of this three stage cycle is expected to be in July, but still all the final decisions are being left to the state and territory leaders. This may sound a bit too far fetch, but one thing is for sure, these steps are not attained by just making decisions, they were reached because of collaborations between leaders and the government to make sure each step is done methodically, and surely.
Morrison has also warned the Australians to not be very complacent as “we must walk before we run.” He also said that Premiers and chief ministers have also stressed there must not be any expectations as to step one being implemented on day one. Other factors may still be considered and that everyday numbers of the affected is still a major factor to be deliberated. Those who are more than eager for this pandemic to be over sometimes don’t put into consideration the risks we are taking by being too relaxed. Take for example other countries who have lifted their lockdown without proper provisions and guidelines. Second waves were reported and the country, instead of flattening the curb, had drastically increased it. The government of Australia vows to not let this happen even with the liftings of some of the restrictions.
So what are the guidelines when it comes to weddings? And how should the couple, as well as the guests treat and still enjoy this occasion without going above the law?
Here are some of the examples of the restrictions that will still be implemented:
- Guests cannot exceed more than 10 on the first stage. This means even if the wedding will be done indoors or outdoors, not more than 10 guests are allowed. Gone are the days when we can invite the whole neighborhood and even their pets. This is to prevent overcrowding and to also make sure that all the guests are accounted for just in case someone gets infected. Then eventually, the number of guests increased. But very gradually.
- Social distancing is still a very important factor. This includes the seating arrangements of the guests and the couple themselves. It may sound hard to be followed, but this is very necessary to still avoid being contaminated, or if you’re a carrier and don’t know it, you might get others infected. Social distancing is followed by people all over the world for the sole purpose of making sure we have a chance to not spread the virus. Even in occasions such as weddings, we still have to distance ourselves because we’ll never know who has the virus and who doesn’t.
- Kissing, handshake and hugging are not allowed in the new normal. Even if you badly wanted to kiss your bride, unfortunately this is still not allowed. We all know how hard it can be to see family members we've not been able to interact with for a long time and not want to give them a hug or a kiss on the cheek. It may be difficult to do, but we must keep in mind that it’s still for our own good.
- All contact details of the guests and even the bride and the groom must be gathered. This again is important as to make contact tracing easier if the need for it arises. We never know if we are carriers, especially if we’re asymptomatic.
Certain guidelines are now being considered to be eased and I think this is a good sign. It means the government is succeeding in flattening the curve and that we can all sigh a breath of relief even though still things are not the same as before. This may be the “new normal”, and we can have a hard time getting used to it, but the reasons why these must be followed are still greater than the possibilities of the virus being spread to everyone. We all must still do our part in keeping ourselves and others safe in this global pandemic. Weddings are great, but we must still face the fact we are living in a world that we are not sure of currently. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from saying your I do’s.