Wedding planners say NHS Test and Track app 'pingdemic' threatens Britain's ...

Wedding planners say NHS Test and Track app 'pingdemic' threatens Britain's ...
Wedding planners say NHS Test and Track app 'pingdemic' threatens Britain's ...

After 16 months of crippling restrictions, this summer's frantically busy wedding season faces a fresh threat: the 'pingdemic'. 

The threat of last-minute change and cancellations loom over the first restriction-free nuptials after 'Freedom Day' on July 19, as a record-breaking 618,000 NHS Test and Track users were told to self isolate in England and Wales last week. 

Brides and grooms have been left hanging in the balance, while organisers, caterers, photographers and hairdressers feverishly prepare for a hectic season of ceremonies after many couples planning to marry last year, rescheduled for the 2021 season.

Anna Wills, a London-based wedding planner and events manager, warned that what should be a couple's most memorable day of their lives was turning into 'the most stressful day' instead. 

In some cases best men are being required to perform speeches via Zoom after being 'pinged', while others live in desperate fear of having their big day cancelled. 

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It comes as couples were instructed to quarantine for 10 days by Home Office minister Victoria Atkins if they are contacted through the NHS test and track app. 

With tens of thousands of pounds on the line, and everyone from brides and grooms to photographers and caterers left in the balance, some are opting to either delete or ignore the self-isolation app. 

With many weddings cancelled in 2020, this summer is set to be one of the busiest wedding seasons in recent memory

With many weddings cancelled in 2020, this summer is set to be one of the busiest wedding seasons in recent memory

The threat of last-minute change and cancellations loom over the first restriction-free nuptials after 'Freedom Day' on July 19. [Stock picture]

The threat of last-minute change and cancellations loom over the first restriction-free nuptials after 'Freedom Day' on July 19. [Stock picture]

Anna Wills, of Arc Events, explained the fears that many suppliers and planners like herself are facing in the run up to huge scale weddings that they've been preparing for months.

'It's such a nightmare scenario we're in, particularly with these events being planned over the last year or two.

'If you're working in the [wedding] industry, you're having to be very, very careful at the moment.

'The threat of being pinged at any moment is really scary. It would be incredibly sad to see these weddings and couples crushed.

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'Already, we've seen in some cases that lots of people, 10 or 15 in some cases, are dropping out of these events a day or two before. It's incredibly sad.'

Anna says she recently planned one wedding in Oxfordshire where the two best men were 'pinged' by the app a day before the wedding.

The pair were forced to perform their best men speech via Zoom.  

Several people on social media pointed to the fact that they wouldn't be following the advice of the NHS Test and Trace App to self-isolate if 'pinged'

Several people on social media pointed to the fact that they wouldn't be following the advice of the NHS Test and Trace App to self-isolate if 'pinged' 

With some weddings in luxury venues in the capital costing upwards of £50,000 - and over £100,000 in some cases, Anna explains there's a huge financial risk lingering over brides and grooms-to-be. 

'If you're the bride or groom and you're pinged the day before, and you're trying to cancel that wedding... We're talking tens of thousands of pounds in some cases.

'You're left hoping in the days before that tests or 'pings' are negative.

'This is supposed to be the happiest days of people's lives, and yet it's now the most stressful day of their life.'  

Several people on social media pointed to the fact that they wouldn't be following the advice of the NHS Test and Trace App to self-isolate if 'pinged'.

And the impacts of the 'pingdemic' are already being felt in other industries, as BP petrol stations and Iceland stores were forced to close as fears mounted that up to 20 per cent of shop staff could be isolating 'within weeks'.

One photographer who regularly works at luxury venues in the capital, explained that having a 'normal' wedding at the moment does not seem possible with the 'pingdemic' in full flow.

They said:  'If the NHS app keeps 'pinging' everyone, the whole notion of unlocking has been reversed.

'The idea of having a 'normal' wedding at the moment is just an illusion.'

The photographer went on to explain that one wedding that has been planned for this weekend had up to 150 guests invited, but at least half of them were told to self-isolate

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