Weddings, births, funerals 'exempted from any future Covid crackdowns'

Weddings, births and funerals ‘will be exempted from any future Covid crackdowns’ after limiting numbers on previous lockdowns was blamed for causing undue distress

  • Life events such as weddings, births and funerals to be exempt from restrictions
  • Exemptions are part of all scenarios being drawn up by ministers to tackle Covid
  • Comes ahead of a crunch meeting with Boris Johnson and scientists later today
  • No 10 understood to be leaning towards new guidance, not legally binding rules

Weddings, births and funerals will be exempted from any future Covid-19 restrictions after limiting numbers during previous lockdowns was blamed for causing undue stress. 

The exemptions for life events are part of all scenarios that have been drawn up by the government to deal with the threat of Omicron.

It comes ahead of crunch talks between Boris Johnson and government scientists today to discuss Covid restrictions for the New Year.  

Downing Street is understood to be leaning towards new guidance urging people in England to be careful and limit contacts – rather than imposing new legally binding restrictions.

But this could change if data on hospitalisations suggests the NHS could be overwhelmed by a wave of coronavirus infections.  

Weddings, births and funerals will be exempted from any future Covid-19 restrictions after limiting numbers during previous lockdowns was blamed for causing undue stress

Weddings, births and funerals will be excepted from any future Covid-19 restrictions with exemptions for life events part of all scenarios that have been drawn up by the government to deal with the threat of Omicron (pictured, Prime Minister Boris Johnson)

It comes ahead of crunch talks between Boris Johnson and government scientists today to discuss Covid restrictions for the New Year (pictured, Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, right, and Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, left, earlier this year)

Possible restrictions considered by the PM over the past few days include closing pubs and restaurants indoors, bringing back the rule of six or restricting the number of households meeting indoors, and limiting capacity at mass events. 

But ministers are said to be against disrupting significant life events with the restrictions, even if they opt to bring back the rule of six in indoor settings, the Times reported. 

Among the proposals are plans to prevent hospitals forcing women to attend scans and check ups – as well as give birth – without their partners.  

And ministers are ‘increasingly optimistic but very cautiously optimistic’ they will avoid reimposing draconian lockdown rules in England before the new year.   

‘It’s not just that there’s a clear gap between cases and hospitalisations, but also that when people are going into hospital they tend to be there for less time,’ a government source told the Times. 

It is a stark difference from previous restrictions, under which the number of people allowed at weddings and funerals was capped – and saw the Queen attend Prince Philip’s funeral alone in April. 

It is a stark difference from previous restrictions, under which the number of people allowed at weddings and funerals was capped – and saw the Queen attend Prince Philip’s funeral alone in April

So far Mr Johnson has resisted calls to go as far as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in introducing curbs on social mixing. Similar restrictions have also been imposed in many European countries – but not yet in England.

This morning the Prime Minister will meet chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance to consider the latest data.

Any new legally binding restrictions would need the backing of Cabinet, and would have to be rubber stamped by MPs.

But last night sources said the recall of Parliament was looking less likely than it had before Christmas – an indication that Downing Street is leaning away from stricter curbs. 

If simple guidance was issued, urging people to limit their contacts, this would not need Parliamentary sanctioning or the backing of the Cabinet. 

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