THE owner of an Essex wedding business fears his firm won’t be able to survive much longer if Covid restrictions continue to be extended. 

Thufayel Amed, manager of the Ariana Gardens banqueting hall in Ingatestone, also says any easing of restrictions regarding weddings should be based on venue capacity, not attendee numbers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a delay to ‘freedom day’ on June 21 - when all Covid rules were due to be dropped.

He is expected to push the date back to July 19 due to the increase of the Indian Covid variant in the UK.

The delay is a serious blow for wedding businesses and venues, which will have to continue to limit the number of guests at ceremonies to 30.

Mr Amed has revealed around 300 weddings planned at Ariana Gardens have been postponed since the start of the pandemic.

He has called on the Government to change the rules for weddings and limit the number of guests based on a venues capacity, rather than the blanket policy in use at the moment.

Mr Amed told the PA news agency: “With Asian weddings, which have upwards of 500 guests, you split that between two families.

“If they say silly numbers like 100-150, it’s not going to work for us.”

Mr Amed added: “(The Government) talks about big weddings like a big wedding is 100 – well, ours are not.”

His venue has capacity for 800 people in one hall, and 600 in another.

“If we can get it done based on 50% capacity, we can have 400 in one, and 300 in the other, and that will be more feasible,” he said.

“The thing that is in the back of our minds is that restrictions might go even further. If that’s the case, we’re just locking up – we will just give the keys back to the landlord and the banks who own us.”

He continued: “I was in east London last night, the pubs are full, everyone was hugging.

“One of the reasons weddings were restricted is because of people mingling, but yesterday, in the pubs, because England won, everyone was hugging and kissing each other, random strangers.”