WEDDING venue providers in the South Lakes are urging sector-specific relaxation of Covid rules in order to remain commercially viable.

The latest government restrictions mean only 15-person groups may attend wedding events.

As a consequence, business and community representatives in the area are lobbying the Government to ease restrictions for venues where a risk assessment can demonstrate a site is 'Covid-safe'.

Cumbria Tourism estimates that more than a billion-pounds-worth of revenue in the county's hospitality and visitor economy has already been lost to Covid-19.

More broadly, the hospitality sector has taken a considerable hit during the pandemic months. The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, for instance, shed almost 40 per cent of its staff during the summer.

Ben Berry, Windermere representative at the county council and sales manager of English Lakes Hotels, says he has been forced to cancel his own wedding due to the pandemic restrictions announced by Number 10.

Cllr Berry argued individual events should be considered on a case by case basis.

"Trust should be placed in local environmental health teams," he said.

"The specifications of individual venues can vary considerably. Therefore, a case-by-case approach is the most sensible option for this kind of event."

Referring to the previous limit of 30-person groups, he also said 'I'm confident we can handle groups larger than 30 and keep them safe'.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron put forward the case for the area's wedding venues through a parliamentary intervention earlier this week.

In response, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I think we have shown throughout that we are always willing to try to improve the way the rules operate in a way that is safe.

“At weddings, of course people tend to come together physically. It is a time of celebration of love, and that is in its nature, so we make restrictions with huge regret, but we always keep an open mind on the public health evidence.”

Mr Farron said: “From photographers to caterers, from florists to bridal shops - people working in the wedding industry in Cumbria tell me that times are really tough for them right now.

“I want to support the Government in the measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the virus, but this particular rule seems to me to have no impact on protecting lives – but it is having a devastating impact of many people’s livelihoods.

“I will continue to urge the Government to think again.”

The Brewery Arts Centre was contacted for comment.