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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S5W-34232

  • Asked by: Alex Cole-Hamilton, MSP for Edinburgh Western, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • Date lodged: 22 December 2020
  • Current status: Answered by Ash Denham on 19 January 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what its reasons are for children under 12 being included in the numbers allowed to attend wedding ceremonies but not included in any other setting.


The restrictions on gatherings are a consequence of the current pandemic and are designed to reduce the transmission of the virus. Marriage ceremonies are an exception to the general rules on social gatherings and the number of people who can attend a marriage is higher than the number of people who are generally allowed to meet in one place. This reflects the importance of marriage to society.

All of Scotland is currently at either level 3 or 4 of the Strategic Framework.

At level 4, under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, only 5 people may attend a marriage ceremony (the couple, the celebrant or registrar, and two witnesses) or, where an interpreter is required, 6 people may attend.

At level 3, no more than 20 people should attend a marriage ceremony. However, children are at present included in the limit of 20 people. If we were to exclude children from this limit, children from several different households could attend, significantly increasing the number of people attending. This could increase the risk of transmission of the virus at a time when it is more important than ever before to limit transmission as much as possible.