Friday, 27 December 2019

No dancing, no mingling: Ohio allows 300-guest weddings, but how can they stay safe amid the coronavirus threat? -

No dancing, no mingling: Ohio allows 300-guest weddings, but how can they stay safe amid the coronavirus threat?

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio will allow banquet halls and catering facilities to reopen Monday, June 1, so summer brides can host wedding receptions with up to 300 guests.
But those celebrations may fall short of expectations.
Weddings must follow the state’s guidance on restaurants and bars. That creates some obvious restrictions: no mingling at the bar, no dance floor and no father-daughter dances.
But that also raises a host of questions, said one local wedding planner, who spoke on a condition of anonymity so as not to hurt her business. She believes the state needs to write specific instructions for weddings.
While restaurant diners share a table with people they know, wedding guests from different families may be seated together. No one will be wearing masks because they are eating and drinking.
Following social distancing guidelines by seating fewer guest at each table means renting more tables and hiring more wait staff.
“There could be additional expenses people haven’t thought about,” she said. “It’s going to become a muddy puddle.”

Guidelines for restaurants, weddings
The state is still working on the specific guidance surrounding the rules for reopening banquet and catering facilities, said Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato. Here’s how the state’s guidance for restaurants and bars will affect weddings.
A 300-person cap placed on restaurants means weddings can only have 300 guests. The 300-person limit does not include service providers such as a deejay, caterer, photographers, videographer and wait staff, Amato said.
Buffets are permitted at restaurants and weddings if food is served by staff with safe social distancing between servers and diners.
Open areas where guests congregate for dancing or other entertainment are closed. Switching tables and moving about during a wedding reception are prohibited, Amato said.
Wedding venues will be in charge of enforcing these guidelines.
The guidelines are meant to slow the spread of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The illness spreads easily through droplets in the air, especially in crowded, enclosed spaces. People can spread the virus even though they have no symptoms and don’t feel ill.
How couples are coping with restrictions
While some couples have downscaled their celebrations to charming front-porch affairs, some June and July brides may decide to keep their recent plans and ignore the Ohio Department of Healths’s guidelines, the wedding planner said.
She recalled a wedding held a few days after the prohibition against large gatherings took effect. “The bride was like, ‘I don’t care. If the cops come, fine,'” she said.
But will police really be responding to country clubs and banquet halls around Ohio, to stop brides from hugging their grandmothers or a drunk friend getting up to dance?
Will some couples aloof hire deejays?
The wedding planner posed a list of questions.
She understands how families feel about having to touchy cherished plans, but she also doesn’t want the best day of a couple’s life to become the worst because it led to guests becoming ill.
“I want nothing more than to have all these events and see joy on all the people’s faces,” she said.
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