Wasing Estate owner says safety comes first as government prepares to lift coronavirus restrictions
THE owner of a popular West Berkshire wedding venue has said the lifting of coronavirus restrictions will make a “huge difference” to his business, but that his priority remained his staff’s safety.
Wasing Estate near Aldermaston has been either closed or operating under restrictions for the last 16 months.
This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from a week on Monday (July 19), the current restrictions would be torn up and social distancing rules lifted – providing the situation doesn’t worsen dramatically.
School bubbles will be scrapped and public face masks will no longer be required in most settings, with people having “to learn to live with the virus.”
Weddings will no longer be restricted to just 30 guests, while nightclubs will also be able to open for the first time since last March.
Reacting to the news, Wasing Estate owner Joshua Dugdale said: “It’ll make a huge difference but obviously our concern is going to be our staff and making sure they’re safe.
“If there’s a huge increase in cases then we’re going to be worried about how we can keep our staff safe, and then if they have to isolate, that we’re able to have adequate support – which we don’t have at the moment because hospitality recruitment is so difficult.
“That’s our main concern, but in terms of being back to business and doing what we love, it’s obviously fantastic.
“But I think there’s an inevitability that we’re going to end up with cases.
“If we end up in the same situation where we’ve got to isolate everyone then my business, and anybody else who works in hospitality, is going to really struggle.”
A final decision is set to be made by the government on Monday about whether to lift the restrictions.
Mr Dugdale added: “We’re fully booked for months to come, and obviously the question now is being able to fulfil that demand.
“We’ve only had six cancellations of all the events we’re doing – which is over 150 – so to fit all of those means we’re busier than we’ve ever been.
“We’ll see what comes out – we know things can change very quickly, so we’re waiting to see what the final regulations and guidelines will be whilst at the same time trying to support our team.
“We’re very excited about welcoming people to a safe environment and to have their event.”