With 6 in 10 likely to attend weddings in Nov-Dec and low mask and social distancing compliance levels, risk of COVID set to rise
- ● As daily COVID cases hit new lows, 3X rise in number of people likely to attend an engagement or wedding in November-December this year as compared to 2020
- ● 76% believe the risk of COVID spread from weddings is average, low or non-existent
- ● 60% fewer people now consider the risk of COVID to be high in attending engagements and weddings as compared to last year
November 23, 2021, New Delhi: The COVID pandemic may have spoiled the big-fat wedding plans of some in 2020 or 2021, but it has certainly not dampened their spirit to tie the knot and celebrate the occasion as planned. With a significant decline in the daily caseload and the 3rd wave not arriving in India in September-October as predicted by experts, many states have lifted the limit of attendees allowed in weddings while some states have capped attendees to a maximum of 100 people. According to media reports, citing wedding operators from cities like Delhi-NCR, the number of venue bookings are almost back to the same level as it was during the pre-pandemic. The trade bodies expect approximately 1.5 lakh weddings between November 14- December 13 in Delhi alone, and as many as 25 lakh weddings across the country.
That said, wedding organisers should keep a close watch on the compliances to wedding guidelines and updates per COVID mandate. A recent survey by LocalCircles revealed that mask and social distancing compliance hit new lows during the festive season. In late October, mask compliance dropped drastically from 13% of citizens surveyed rating it high in late September to only 2% rating it high in late October. Social distancing compliance dropped by 50% from 6% rating compliance high in late September to 3% in late October. While COVID vaccination rates have been high, global research indicates that the immunity could start reducing 9 months post the 2nd dose. As India began vaccinations for senior citizens and those above 45 years of age with co-morbidity on March 1, many could soon become vulnerable to the virus again. There has been a steady increase of COVID-19 cases post-Diwali in some states of India though, at a country level, the daily caseload has been reported between 9000-12,000.
LocalCircles has observed an increase in citizen posts and comments around weddings and their plans to attend it during the November-December period. Basis this feedback, to gauge the percentage of families expected to attend weddings in this season and the overall sentiment and risk of COVID rising, LocalCircles conducted a survey, which received more than 17,000 responses from citizens across 319 districts of India. 62% respondents were men. while 38% were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 29% from tier 2, and 23% from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
6 in 10 likely to attend engagements and weddings in November-December timeframe
The first question asked citizens, “What is your plan to attend engagements and weddings in person for November-December this year?” In response. 9% said, “Have attended already and no more to attend”, 9% also “attended some and will be attending some more in the coming weeks”. The majority of 44% “Haven’t attended any yet but have some to attend in the coming weeks.” 12% “Was invited to attend but taking a pass this year due to COVID”. Only 24% “Don’t have any invitations for November-December this year”. This means that 6 in 10 of citizens surveyed are likely to attend engagements and weddings in the November-December timeframe. This question received 8,768 responses.
As daily COVID cases hit new lows, 3X rise in number of people likely to attend an engagement or wedding in November-December this year
When citizens were asked a similar question during this of the year in 2020, 35% of citizens said “they were invited to attend but taking a pass this year due to COVID”. This percentage has seen a drastic decrease in 2021, with only 12% saying that they were invited but taking a pass due to COVID. 62% of citizens have attended or are yet to attend the wedding during the November-December period, which has increased from 20% in 2020. This suggests that there has been a 3X rise in the number of people likely to attend an engagement or wedding in November-December this year.
76% citizens who plan to attend engagements & weddings in November-December believe the risk of COVID spread is average, low or non-existent
The next question attempted to understand what citizens think about the risk of COVID-19 spread associated with weddings. The question asked, “For the engagements and weddings that you plan to attend in November-December, what is your view on the COVID risk associated with it?” Notably, 76% of citizens who plan to attend engagements and weddings during the period believe the risk of COVID spread is average, low or non-existent. 3% of citizens said “There is no risk” while 2% did not have an opinion. It must be noted that at this point, only 22% of citizens consider the risk of COVID from weddings and engagements to be high. This question in the survey received 8,758 responses were received.
As daily COVID cases hit new lows, 60% fewer people now consider the risk of COVID to be high in attending engagement and weddings in November-December this year
A similar question that was asked last year to citizens had indicated that 57% of citizens said they believe that the risk of COVID spread at weddings or engagements was high. This number has dropped from 57% in 2020 to 22% in 2021, a decline of over 60%.
In summary, the findings indicate that 6 in 10 Indian families are likely to attend engagements and weddings this November-December period. This is a 3X rise in the number of people likely to attend an engagement or wedding during the period. This rise can be attributed to the declining cases of COVID across the country, the vaccination giving people a sense of confidence and COVID fatigue in general. This season, 60% fewer people now consider the risk of COVID to be high in attending engagement and weddings in November-December this year. With low mask and social distancing compliance across the country, a likely waning of antibodies obtained from vaccination and many more people attending weddings and engagements is bound to drive up the risk of COVID spread.
Some experts in different LocalCircles have suggested a safe practice for organisers and attendees of weddings to be followed like holding the weddings and engagement events as much outdoor as possible, avoiding buffets and bar setups, and having sit-down dinners or drinks with a set place for each guest with their name tags. Availability of masks and sanitisers furnished to every guest if they are not carrying one is something else that must be practiced. Other suggestions included minimising the singing or music events indoors or keeping them outdoors and limiting the time of the actual wedding ceremony to 1 hour. Similarly, local administrators must also keep a watch on the daily caseload, the compliances to wedding guidelines and update rules accordingly if the daily caseloads rise to address the situation.
17,000 responses from citizens across 319 districts of India. 62% respondents were men. while 38% were women. 48% respondents were from tier 1, 29% from tier 2, and 23% from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.