wedding

Brides and prejudice: How the wedding industry is struggling under strict coronavirus restrictions

By now, wedding season should be reaching a triumphant end, thousands of bouquets thrown and garters tossed, with vendors retreating with fatigue. This year, of course, it never really got started.

Like most in the industry, Marianna Vaki, founder of London-based cake makers Whisk and Drizzle, began 2020 with a diary full of bookings but due to ongoing restrictions, she has been able to fulfil just 10 per cent of those orders, many of which had to be downsized. The rest of her brides have moved their weddings to next year, with some considering postponing again to 2022. If they do, she faces a second year with little-to-no income and the prospect that her business might not survive. “If weddings don’t resume next year, a lot of us won’t be here in 2022,” she says, adding that she is having to look for another job to make up for the

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shopping

Shopping centre owners still struggling to collect rent in Covid crisis

Struggling retailers increased the amount of rent paid to their landlords in September compared with three months earlier but still left property owners waiting to receive more than half of rental payments.



a large building: Photograph: Richard Saker/The Observer


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Richard Saker/The Observer

Landsec, the property group behind the Trinity Leeds shopping centre and Bluewater in Kent, said that it had collected only a third of rents from its retail tenants, five working days after they were due, compared with 82% of rental payments from office tenants.

The Covid-19 crisis has taken a toll, with the company saying that a year earlier it had collected 89% of retail rents and almost all (98%) office rents during the same timeframe.

Overall, it received just under two-thirds (62%) of rent due in September from all of its commercial tenants, down from 95% a year earlier.

It was a similar picture at the rival property

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gift

Unprecedented $90M gift for UMaine athletics will revamp school’s struggling facilities

The University of Maine’s needy athletic facilities have received a major shot in the arm.

The Harold Alfond Foundation is providing the athletic department with an unprecedented gift of $90 million, the organization announced in a press release on Wednesday morning. It will be the largest single gift to athletics at a public university in New England and among the largest gifts ever, nationwide.

It was part of a $240 million grant to the University of Maine system.

It will be distributed over the next 10 years and is the lead gift in a planned $110 million investment in athletic facilities on the Orono campus. All the money is expected to be funded through private philanthropy.

The transformative gift will go toward capital projects in direct support of the master plan to upgrade the athletic facilities.

Details of the plan will be disclosed at a later date.

Last year, UMaine

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