A British man who is getting married in the Czech Republic on Saturday says 30 guests have had to leave before the wedding in order to beat the UK’s quarantine changes.
Oliver, who did not give his surname, says many of his friends and family – including his sister – have had to fly home before the nuptials take place in the capital, Prague, as they cannot self-isolate due to work constraints.
Travellers arriving in the UK from the Czech Republic – as well as Switzerland and Jamaica – after Saturday’s 04:00 BST deadline must quarantine for 14 days, under coronavirus travel rules announced on Thursday evening.
“I’m down about 30 guests and my little sister, who is a bridesmaid, is distraught at having to fly home tonight before the wedding (she is a teacher),” the 38-year-old, who is originally from Kent, told the Press Association news agency.
After saying a “tearful goodbye” to family who had to fly home early, he says he and fiancée Andrea, 33, have hardly slept and been left “exhausted emotionally” ahead of their wedding.
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Oliver and Andrea, who is from the Czech city of Pardubice, have already cancelled their wedding twice due to pregnancy after first becoming engaged four years ago.
The couple had booked their third attempt down the aisle for August before lockdown, and told guests the ceremony would go ahead after the Czech Republic was put on the UK’s safe travel corridors list in July.
Several of Oliver’s family members had pulled out of the newly-planned wedding recently due to age and ill-health, which he says “was a shame but understandable”.
Oliver, who has lived in the Czech Republic for 11 years, says the UK government’s “arbitrary” decision-making has left the couple and their family “in tears before what is supposed to be the best day of their lives”.
He says he and Andrea went ahead with their wedding as they believed the Czech government had “done very well” controlling the virus and relaxing restrictions, so the rule change came as a shock.
After an “incredibly stressful” week, Oliver believes the government “should do more to communicate to people in advance”.
But for now, he’s thankful that some friends and his immediate family – minus his sister – are accepting quarantine to attend his wedding.
The Czech Republic was removed from the UK’s safe travel corridors list after the government cited data saying the country had seen weekly cases per 100,000 rise from 16.2 on 20 August to 20.2 on Thursday.
The country sees more than 300,000 British tourists every year, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The capital Prague is a popular destination for city breaks and stag parties.