The Scottish Government should set out a clear target timescale for when the wedding industry in Scotland can start to get back to normal, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

Currently, no more than 20 people are allowed to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership, and wedding receptions are still subject to the rules that apply for other indoor and outdoor gatherings – three households and up to eight people indoors, or five households and up to 15 people outside.

In England, from last weekend, sit down wedding receptions of up to 30 people are now allowed to take place.

Colin Smyth highlighted the issue in the Scottish Parliament last week, questioning Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing on the subject.

Speaking remotely in the parliament, Colin Smyth said: “The weddings sector is hugely important to the Dumfries and Galloway economy, not least in Gretna Green, which the cabinet secretary mentioned.

“Does he accept that what the sector is asking for is no different from what he did for the tourism sector, which was to set an indicative advance date for reopening?

“Whether we are talking about a couple looking to tie the knot or a business that will make their day special, advance planning time is absolutely crucial.”

Colin Smyth later added: “As we move further out of lockdown, it is vitally important that the wedding industry is given a clear target timescale for when the Scottish Government plans to change the rules for weddings. The fact that there are different rules in England, compared to north of the border, adds yet more confusion and frustration for businesses.

“Setting out a time line is not only important for the hundreds of people in Dumfries and Galloway who depend on this industry for work, but for the couples out there who want to tie the knot.

“It was very clear why weddings were banned during lockdown, and Covid-19 is still out there, which means we must be very cautious at all times. However, that shouldn’t stop the Scottish Government from setting out a clear target timeline about when further changes can be expected, subject to the virus transmission rates.

“The Government put forward a timescale for the tourism sector and now it’s time for them to act to reassure the wedding industry and those who wish to get married, that they haven’t been forgotten.”

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