By now we’re all aware of the severity of Coronavirus, and probably exhausted from the worry of it all. I know I am! Most of my couples know that I am a Heart Failure Nurse Specialist. I am also a Wedding Photographer. I have had lots of messages regarding advice and I really don’t have all the answers. Therefore I have put together this article with advice on Corona and Weddings. I am giving this advice from both perspectives of my life with awareness of the impact on small businesses and the scientific guidance I can offer. If you’re getting married this year you’re probably worried how the Coronavirus pandemic could impact on your wedding and more so on your own health and the health of those around you. Currently the guidance is changing daily from the government so there are no absolute answers, which is frustrating and frightening. We are dealing with a pandemic, where we don’t understand the final outcome and we are learning as we go along.
As of March 16th 2020, the government announced stricter guidance on social gatherings, which are closer inline with the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. As a reminder though, they are exactly that, guidelines. They are currently not enforced but should come with a serious warning. These updates are coming from scientific and mathematical equations of the trajectory of the virus, they also come from trying to strike a balance on a functional economy. What we do know about the spread of any disease, is that we need to devote our attention to “flattening the curve”, a statement I am sure you have all heard. This simple and historic method of dealing with outbreaks by epidemiologists is proven to limit the spread. Obviously this is to prevent more people becoming infected but also allows healthcare professionals logistical time to plan and allow for research to advance to possibly provide a vaccine. Covid-19 can’t spread exponentially forever. There are upper limits to the population and over time, people start to build immunity to the disease and the infected start to recover, there will be a natural ceiling. As with many other disease outbreaks, there will likely be a peak and decline in the number of cases.
With regard to your health, this obviously comes first. Symptoms of Corona Virus are:
A NEW persistent cough
A fever (which means above 38C)
Shortness of breath
Standard recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include frequent cleaning of hands and wrists, (we should all be singing happy birthday TWICE) using alcohol-based hand rub or preferably soap and water. Covering the nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing; and avoiding close contact with anyone that has a fever and cough. Including maintaining at least 1 metre (3 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Easier said than done! You need to remember that you may be immune to the virus completely, or have the virus and be asymptomatic. We will never know the true numbers as we simply don’t had the means of testing the infected on mass and there is no method for testing recovered subjects. This is about the bigger picture and thinking about those who are at risk and what we can do about it.
With regard to those who are at risk; this means anyone who has underlying health issues, which does not always correlate with age. Diseases aren’t ageist. It is just our biological time clock means you are sometimes more at risk of having an underlying health issue as we age. For example, Diabetes Type 1 & 2, Heart Failure, Renal Failure, Respiratory Disease, Cancers that are being actively treated, High blood pressure, Arthritis where you are taking drugs that suppress your immune system, Pregnant Women; I could go on. Therefore, make sure you are rested and you have all the medications you need, a lot of GP surgeries are giving out email addresses if you need your prescriptions. There is no need to order more medicines than you need, as this will affect the supply of medicines to others, and there is no disruption to the supply of medicines. Pick up the phone and do some life admin for the next few months. Help those who need it, to sort out their health ready for potential self isolation. Think about how you can be in the best health possible. For example I have asthma, everyday I take two inhalers to make sure my health condition is controlled. Exercise by walking, eat well, reduce your alcohol intake, stop smoking, general lifestyle advice that you have heard for years from the NHS still remains. This is one of the biggest self-help tools you have got. Be sensible and don’t panic.
If you think you have symptoms please follow the NHS advice – especially on self isolation.
With that out of the way I wanted to put together my own thoughts with what that means on how to deal with different eventualities if you have a wedding booking or shoot with me in 2020. With phases such as social distancing (the government has issued an article on this) and reducing non-essential travel, what does that mean for your wedding? None of us, scientists or medics included, know what is going to 100% happen over the next few months, including the impact on the economy and small businesses who often don’t have the same protection or income backing to survive cancellations. This element is probably more worrying than the virus itself! We could certainly see further restrictions on gatherings and more enforcement in the coming months. This is being realistic to what is happening and the measures you need to take to protect yourself and others.
IF I AM SICK
I wanted to give you all some reassurance that I will never put you or your family at risk. In the last month I have formed a triangle of local photographers that could potentially step in and shoot for me if needed with regard to my own exposure of COVID-19. An obvious reminder, but all photographers are in the same boat. As are florists, cake makers, bands, wedding planners etc. Surprisingly, I am at just as much risk as the general public regardless of being a healthcare clinician; this is due to how strict our infection control procedures are in hospitals and I’m afraid to say how poorly people wash their own hands in the public population and are not taking the warnings seriously enough. I am taking all the appropriate measures required. Plus I love the new greeting of toe taps and elbow pokes! In the event I do need to find cover, I will give you as much notice as I can, depending on the circumstances. Which would be exactly the same if I was ill with a gastric bug or I broke my leg. The procedure is no different. If an appropriate replacement cannot be found, or you would prefer to find your own replacement you will be given a refund of the remainder of what you owe HEART FULL OF TEA. As a reminder, regardless of the virus, deposits are non-refundable.
YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR BOOKING
If your 2020 wedding is postponed for any reason, regardless of whether it is due to any anxieties about the current state of affairs, due of illness, due to family or key people that cannot get there due to travel issues, or because of a ban from the Government; HEART FULL OF TEA, will happily transfer your booking to another date, if possible. I will try where able, to accommodate your new date, without impacting on other bookings. The package that you have booked and the monetary value of that will be carried over to the new date. I don’t want to lose working and shooting with you, so therefore I am keen to make sure we can agree to make your postponement as stress-free as possible for you.
There is a lot of incorrect dare I say it, fake news out there currently from our delightful media that is causing a huge amount of scaremongering. Having difficulty getting hold of loo roll? Yep, that will be thanks to the news. It causes people to be fearful as there is so much misunderstood advice, this causes panic. Be calm, do not bulk buy. Be creative with your stocks you already have and think about those who are at risk right now, where panic buying and emptying the shops is devastating for them.
Right now, I can completely understand how frightening and devastating these changes are towards your wedding day. Weddings are expensive, I get that. You don’t want to get sick, you don’t want your family to get sick and you don’t want your day you’ve been planning for to get ruined and loose money in the process. One of the first things I would do, is understand the T&Cs of all your hired help and then also what your Wedding Insurance states. What do these contractually say to support your plans? Cancelling your wedding now because you ‘fear’ something ‘could’ go wrong will probably have financial implications as this often won’t be covered by insurance.
Remember that I am here to help with your wedding, I want to work with you. I want your wedding to ahead. I am a small business and I work with awesome small businesses that will also want your day to happen. I am championing for you both! We can do this. Stay rational, keep excited about the fact you are getting married this year and just be sensible. Write your questions down, use your phone when you’re out and about to make lists etc and just be systematic in how you are going manage your anxieties.
Emma from Coco Weddings also wrote an excellent piece regarding advice following the Corona Virus. Definitely give that a read and please just email me if you have ANY concerns.
Look after each other, support those around you, we will be ok.