For couples planning to get married, the lockdown has set back a lot of plans. Anyone hoping to celebrate their nuptials in the New Year has been hit by tough lockdown restrictions, which can only take place with a maximum of six people in attendance and in exceptional circumstances, such as one of the partners being terminally ill.
While that means a very small number of weddings will happen over the period of lockdown, couples set on having a big day with lots of people in attendance will have to wait for circumstances to change.
The good news is, there are positive signs that the summer will be much more promising and that the country will start to open up again. That means there could be plenty of demand for phone booth hire in the UK as larger wedding gatherings are permitted and friends and family who have been kept apart in lockdowns can be reunited in full pictorial glory on the big day.
First and foremost is the vaccination programme. The latest data shows that the UK is one of the front-runners in delivering jabs to its population, with only Israel and the UAE ahead.
Britain is also in a comparatively stronger position than other European countries. While the EU rows with AstraZeneca over shortfalls in supply from its Belgian factory, the Anglo-Swedish firm is busily churning out the supplies from factories in Oxford and Wrexham to keep Britain supplied.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has insisted the issue will not lead to disruption to the UK’s vaccine supplies, even though the EU has called for some of the doses made in Britain to be given to EU countries. He said: “It is the case that the supplies that have been planned, paid for and scheduled should continue, absolutely. There will be no interruption to that.”
The upshot of this is that the UK has already delivered the first doses to over seven million people and with hundreds of thousands being delivered daily, the first target of reaching the most vulnerable groups by mid-February is set to be met.
After that, the gradual roll-out is expected to provide vaccines for all who will have them by no later than September – and potentially as soon as June. The prospect of being able to have older relatives at weddings is moving close.
Secondly, the prospect of better treatments offers another hope for Covid being stopped in its tracks. While plenty of quack remedies have been suggested by characters as diverse as President Maduro of Venezuela and a Sri Lankan holy man, there are some potentially game-changing drugs in testing
These include a cocktail of antibodies made by US firm Regeneron that are being trialled amid claims it can stop all symptoms and halve infections, and the blood cancer drug Alpidin, made from sea squirts.
Perhaps the best indicator of a more normal summer, however, is to be found in the optimism of those planning events. While Glastonbury might be off, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced a busy summer with tickets on sale for all matches, even games against New Zealand taking place in June.
Clearly the expectations are that life is set to become much better. The next few weeks may still be tough, but the prospect of a golden summer with great big weddings could be closer than we dare to hope.