The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused damage to a lot of industries. Given that organizing weddings during the pandemic is quite risky, state authorities imposed several restrictions to keep the spread of COVID-19 in check.
These COVID-19 wedding restrictions limit indoor gatherings to 25 people, a decision that has hurt the revenue of wedding and event-related businesses. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has cautioned against large-scale events, citing that individuals are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 when in large crowds However, the agency also said that if a large gathering must take place, the staff must clean and disinfect high touch surfaces frequently, practice proper hygiene, wear face masks, and modify seating to encourage physical distancing.
On March 8, several wedding and banquet businesses attended a press conference, during which they called on Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to ease restrictions on indoor gatherings so that these businesses can gear up for the wedding season. Bing Goei, a Michigan event center owner, said, “We’re doing everything possible to keep people safe. Does that mean that that’s 100 percent? No. We understand that that is not 100 percent. But we certainly are doing everything that is necessary to keep our guests safe.” He also asked Governor Whitmer to allow venues such as his to operate at half capacity.
Considering that more than 15,600 COVID-related deaths have occurred in Michigan since March 2020, the state continues to impose customer-occupancy restrictions on businesses such as retail stores and restaurants (50% capacity) and casinos and gyms (30% capacity). Grand Rapids (Michigan) Chamber President and CEO Rick Baker has said that wedding and banquet venues require “immediate guidance soon.” He added, “Many venues have not hosted an event for over 12 months. They have already lost reservations into the summer, some of them losing business to our neighboring states. Without the ability to plan around future potential capacity limits in the coming months, they face a dire prospect of surviving 2021.”
In a statement, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said that the state, based on data and science, continues to make decisions that protect public health.