SMALL businesses around East Lancashire in the events industry have been hit again by the governments introduction of the rule of six, as they notice bookings continuing to fall.

The rule of six came into effect on Monday, meaning the entire country can no longer meet up in groups of up to 30 as the virus has picked back up again.

Lianne Bruce’s company ‘La Touche Finale’ in Burnley, took a hit at the start of lockdown, but with the rule of six being introduced, Lianne is preparing for a potential second wave of cancellations.

Lianne, 33, said, “It’s completely come to standstill and there’s nothing we can do. We’ve tried bits and pieces, doing home parties and garden parties but now with this new rule of six it’s made it virtually impossible to do anything.

“I’ve been selling a few balloons to people that are having parties at home but you’re talking not even ten-pound orders maybe once a week, if that.”

Some events are exempt from the rule of six including weddings and funerals - however Lianne does not think that people will continue with wedding plans until the virus starts to disappear.

“I’ve had one booking in the whole of lockdown,” she added, “I don’t think people dare book anything at the minute, one minute we are in lockdown, then we’re not, then we are again.

“They’re saying you can have 30 at a wedding but when you are planning your dream day, unless you are having a really small intimate wedding, it’s not going to be everything you dreamed of.

The owner of the events décor company has already had to cancel 30 events and has weddings postponed until 2022.

Although she does have two weddings booked in October and November, she is expecting these couples could also postpone their special day.

“Until people start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t think people are going to trust booking anything,” Lianne said.

“We’ve had bookings for next year cancel already because people have been out of work so it’s having a knock of effect for then.

“People that want a dream wedding and have all these ideas of grand stuff at the wedding, the fact that they have been out of work means they are worrying about being able to afford it all within 12 months.”

Another company that has been affected by the constant changes around the lockdown rules is The Basement Venue in Blackburn.

The venue hosts all types of events, but the business has struggled because of the constant rule changes in the town.

The owner said: “Each time we take bookings, suddenly the rules change and we’ve got to give refunds out again.

“A lot of people have been ringing because they are not clear on the guidelines. It’s got to the stage now, it’s a difficult time, we’ve just had to close.

“The guidelines have changed so much and we’ve had to refund people, it’s an industry which is not working at the moment at all.”

The events venue was entitled to the small businesses grant of £10,000 grant back in March however, this hasn’t covered the costs of the running the business six months later.

“That was okay for the first few months,” the owned continued, “With these local lockdowns in Blackburn with Darwen, it just doesn’t cover it anymore.”