Wedding filming in the time of Covid.
(With apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez).
I thought long and hard about getting back to filming weddings in summer 2021. On the one hand I had couples who had booked me in 2020 originally and then changed dates, some of them on their third arranged date wanting me to film them.
On the other hand I had family members in a very vulnerable position medically.
I decided that the best course of action was to abandon offering any magic during the wedding breakfast and to focus solely on filming. So for Nikki and Chris's wedding that is what I did. I didn't offer to do table magic during the ceremony. Nikki had particularly asked me to do magic as I think she had a recommendation from a previous wedding I had performed at but understood my reasoning, particularly when I explained about my family's vulnerability.
My reasoning was that I very rarely get close to anyone when filming them whereas when doing magic I’m always close up to people and passing cards, coins and other items between people.
The other difference is that when filming I can wear a mask. No-one comments on it, in fact I think people expect it. Often there is myself, the photographer and the staff of the venue wearing masks indoors so I fit in to what people expect and no-one comments on it.
I think that the safest strategy is for me to continue to wear a mask when filming indoors. I will take it off outdoors where the risk is significantly reduced. I use a 3 layer Cambridge mask with a filter which gives me some significant protection (and my family members), as well as protecting your guests of course in case I have it unknowingly.
As of November 2021 I am triple vaccinated and I will keep up with the relevant lateral flow tests for any future weddings.
I have bookings already for 2022 and several enquiries in the last month.
01-01-2022 it’s New Year’s Day and Omicron is running rampant throughout the world. Our leaders seem to be missing in action as if they have lost their way. They seem to have dumped the responsibility for our continued health solely on us but a lot of people seem to be undecided whether to shield or to carry on partying. Most people I speak to seem to be oblivious to the fact that their booster jab is only effective for 10 weeks. Hospital admissions doubled in the last week and nurses are reported as keeping the doors open by working 12-hour shifts. So where do we go from here? The ideal scenario of vaccinating the world seems to be no further forward.
Omicron in the UK is up to 180,000 new cases a day and 1 in 15 people in England are estimated to have Covid. Before Christmas 3 out of 5 band members of the band I play in caught the virus at a gig they were doing (my wife and I declined to play) and they are just recovering from the initial symptoms and starting to test negative again though at least one of them has had a horrendous Christmas. We’re on our last box of lateral flow tests and cannot find any more either online or in the local pharmacy.
The policy now seems to be ‘let it rip’ and take us through to herd immunity. That means the hospitals are in for a really dreadful time and they are already struggling with years of understaffing and now they have staff off sick with the virus.
I took a booking yesterday for June for someone who’s already moved their wedding because of Covid. Let’s hope she’s picked a good time to get married.
New cases are now down to 92,000 a day which still sounds like a lot to me. Restrictions are being lifted today I think, so that it is no longer necessary to wear a mask indoors anywhere in England I believe. Other nations of the UK are doing things differently so it sounds like there is a lot of scope for confusion. There was a piece on the BBC about hospitals in London where only one ward was in use for Covid patients, compared to 8 wards last year and all the 5 patients in it were unvaccinated. Hopefully, this is representative of what is happening elsewhere too.
I still plan to wear my Cambridge mask at any venue where I am asked to film indoors and may continue to do this for some time to come. This is what I was doing last year and with 1 in 20 people having Omicron that seems to be the sensible thing to do to protect my family.
Cases in York, after a small dip have started to go back up again, possibly because not many people seem to be taking the virus seriously anymore. The government seem to be prioritising the economy over health, unlike some other countries. There is a rumour that Lateral Flow Tests will soon be charged for so that will futher reduce the number of people doing them. So in our family we are doing everything we can to stay safe and protect each other including doing lateral flow tests, encoraging other people who come to the house to do them too and wearing our Cambridge masks indoors in social settings.
Hardly anyone wearing masks now in the local shops except for diehards like my wife and I. Meanwhile we have heard of three people that we have been near recently who have tested positive and the rates are nearly 7000 in York or about 7% of the population.
All restrictions have been lifted in England and now nowhere I can find has any Lateral Flow Tests available in York or on-line. The rates in York are now up to 9,000 so I will be definitely wearing my mask when I go to film a wedding.
Cases in York are now at 13669 and according to the Zoe app have plateaued. I don’t have any details of how many people are being hospitalised or dying of Covid because we seem to be living in what I have heard called the Dark Ages as far as information about the pandemic is concerned.
We can no longer get tests free online or from our local chemist so we are reliant on a dwindling stock of lateral flow tests whenever we have visitors.
Our friend Karen came to stay from Spain recently and said that everyone there is still mandated to wear a mask in indoor shops and venues.
We are now almost in summer and rates are falling in York by a thousand a day. We are now down to 7905 in York according to the Zoe app (the government figures are a small fraction of this but are now questionable in value anyway). The ONS figures corroborate the Zoe figures so I’m happy that the Zoe figures are more reliable. The government has only recently got round to updating the list of symptoms which Zoe have been pressing for for months.
So at a personal level we feel a little bit more relaxed about ‘living with Covid’ although friends and neighbours who have had it have had a whole range of experiences with some saying that it is ‘anything but mild’. I’m fairly sure I had it in 2020 and I’m still feeling what I believe to be the long term effects of it. I also have some concerns about what the next variant might bring. I shall continue to take a quality mask with me and be ready to use it when the situation warrants it.