Welcome to 2021, the year where literally anything could happen and we are all learning the fine art of taking absolutely nothing for granted. I’m in my home right now on a nine-day forced isolation period due to getting a red alert on the NHS Test and Trace App.
My chances of having Covid are very low as I’ve had both doses of the vaccination but still I could spread the virus and so as soon as I got the alert I headed home and set about reorganising my plans for the time that I have to stay here.
I was incredibly surprised to get the alert, although I’d been in London for a few days, I was mostly in the same place. I didn’t take the underground – the only time that I did leave my hotel I walked or used the river boat. I wasn’t in crowded spaces and of course I socially distanced everywhere. I’ll never know at what point or which person I came into close enough contact with to warrant the alert.
Any one of us could get the alert at any time. As things have opened up more, we are more exposed as we go about our daily business plus the numbers are creeping up again. It is our civil duty to use the system, and no, there is currently no test that you can take to get out of doing your isolation days. The app will work out what day you came into contact with Covid and tell you how many days to isolate. For me, that is nine days.
Of course I had shoots in that time and I’ve had to rearrange what I can or get cover if it cannot be moved. Inconvenient, yes but there is the greater good to think of and we are nowhere near out of the woods here.
So what’s my advice to my fellow wedding professionals thinking about if any of you also ended up in this position?
- Have a network of others in your profession that you would trust to take over for you. Make this a formal arrangement. I have reached out to some photographers at around the same level as me and in the same area to say that we would step in if needed and if we can. We all have our kits packed and batteries charged, just in case.
- Have emergency contact numbers for your couples on their wedding day. Remember that they might be too busy to pay attention to their own phones so also get numbers for someone who might be more available on a wedding morning, like a best man, bridesmaid or parent.
- Keep being cautious even if you are vaccinated. It currently makes no difference as you can still pass the virus along.
- Take the income for granted. I know times are tough financially right now, this feels like challenge after challenge after challenge but bear in mind that you might be forced to give up a job. It is your legal requirement to isolate if you get the alert for however many days that they tell you to. It’s going to be an additional stress on you if you’ve already dipped into the fees. To retain some of the income, you could look at sending out another professional that you trust as an associate rather than giving up the full payment. For instance, as photographers, we could still edit the job and deliver it.
- Delete the app. Do the right thing, we all have to do our part. That’s just not up for negotiation.
- Hide your head in the sand and think that none of this applies to you. Your business has survived this long, you need to keep protecting it and provide the very best service to your clients – even if that means staying away from their wedding.