Weddings allowed to return in NY but restrictions cause couples to hold off on hosting events

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Indoor weddings returned to New York State on Monday after months of venues being capped at just 50 people per event.

Wedding receptions were set to return across the state with a limit of 150 people, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, whichever number is less.

Venue owners across the state say it’s relieving to be able to get back to work and welcome people into the building again, but other issues still remain.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but it's not really helping us because there is such a lead time on events,” said Anthony Gerardi, a Staten Island sound engineer who co-founded the New York-New Jersey Live Events Coalition during the pandemic.

He says venues might be open, but people are still hesitant about hosting events, and some are still confused by the restrictions.

“My office has been fielding many phone calls from clients that are still unsure about having their events because they don't want to inconvenience their guests and have them tested,” he explains. “They don't understand why friends and family can't dance the together if they have a mask on.”

A lack of stringent direction from the state has led to confusion and venues want to be compliant says coalition co-founder Jaclyn Bernstein, who expects 2021 to be a recovery year for the events industry.

“It's still somewhat of a pause if a venue's open… but who's going to actually come,” she said. “Some clients might say, ‘I don't feel comfortable doing April, May and June. I'm gonna wait until maybe after the summer.’”

Gerardi notes that clients he speaks with are hesitant to even book a date beyond the summer.

“They don't want to book. They’re not gonna leave deposits until they get clarity on what these guidelines actually look like,” he said.

Meanwhile, even if some venues are able to host events and make some money, Bernstein notes that the industry still is in need of federal or local aid.

“Just because we're open, doesn't mean we are making money,” Bernstein said. “We are probably paying off debt that we went into because of what we did this past year. That is very important for people to remember.”

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