Save the Wedding Industry in Alberta
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The wedding and events industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors of businesses that were impacted by COVID-19, in which bringing people together is integrated into the lifeblood of our work. Since the beginning of the pandemic, wedding businesses and professionals have been scrambling to do our best to adapt to the changes required for the safety of our communities while trying to keep our heads above water. Unfortunately wedding professionals involved in the construction of a wedding day are not able to generate sufficient income with the strict gathering numbers in place and having income losses of up to 75%. The wedding industry is a large employment sector in the special events industry and many small businesses are suffering from the lost of jobs and income for themselves and their families due to the constant postponement, cancellation of wedding days, and downsized wedding plans due to restrictions.
While industries such as retail, restaurants, sports, and travel have been trusted to operate during the pandemic with larger capacity guidelines, this has not been reflected for weddings. The latest restrictions does not give any tangible direction for the future of our industry until the projected "Step 4" of the "A Path Forward" plan and doesn't consider our critical opportunity to work. As the peak of weddings are in the spring and summer months, wedding professionals and small businesses are put at halt to earn a sufficient income which is especially frustrating considering the backlog of weddings from 2020, and now 2021.
We believe the Alberta Government can provide safe guidelines to increase wedding gatherings so that ceremonies and receptions can take place for the remainder of the year with health and safety top of mind.
- Permitting weddings to occur at 15% of a venue's capacity as with standards in place for retail and faith services.
- Making contact tracing mandatory at each wedding that occurs with an event ID and list of all attendants.
- Ensuring that floor plans and respective seating reflect that of cohorts and those who live together with no more than 6 per table with tables 2 metres apart as set in place for restaurants.
Weddings are generally planned up to 2-3 years in advance. Without a clue on what the next steps may be, this not only affects the wellbeing of engaged couples, but has a dire economic impact on the businesses involved. With the realization of COVID-19 as our new reality, we believe that a clear and fair guideline will help affected weddings and businesses move forward in an informed and clear manner. Having this knowledge NOW would allow engaged couples and businesses to prepare and make the necessary arrangements to ensure events are carried out safely with consideration to everyone involved and the health of our communities.
Impacts on those affected:
- Many couples have lost deposits and money with having to cancel or postpone businesses involved in their wedding to 2021.
- By not having any directions for the remainder of the year, we run the high risk of clients cancelling or downsizing their wedding plans which creates a greater loss for wedding businesses.
- The stress of future uncertainties has affected mental health significantly from both wedding clients and businesses.
Concrete wedding guidelines would provide peace of mind for engaged couples in solidifying decisions that in turn impact the ability of wedding and event businesses to work. It would also support businesses that have been constantly dealing with changes of the pandemic resulting in postponed and lost income.
We thank you for your support for this petition.
Photo Credit: Becca Schultz Photography
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