Onsite Venue Tours
Onsite Venue Tours
November 30, 2020
550 Vandalia Street
St. Paul MN 55114
Office of Governor Tim Walz
130 State Capitol
75 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155
To Whom it May Concern,
On behalf of the Event Industry and Venue professionals, I am writing to address the recent Executive Order 20-99, calling to shut down event venues due to the rise in Covid-19 cases in our area.
As you can imagine and are aware of, the event industry has taken a huge hit since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to suffer under the newest Executive Order. While we understand the reason for shutting down events, especially weddings, we do not support the expectation that our businesses remain closed entirely during this time. We have implemented all of the guidelines and regulations the State of MN has put forth over the last 8 months ⏤ adapting to new protocols and capacity restrictions, communicating to clients what is and is not permitted at their events (dancing, masking, social distancing, etc.)⏤ but the condition accompanying the most recent Executive Order that prohibits venues from conducting onsite tours for prospective clients, is unnecessarily restrictive and damaging.
The holiday season, for venues and the event industry at large, brings a tremendous uptick in bookings given the number of engagements that occur. Venues specifically feel this influx throughout December and January as prospective clients are celebrating new engagements with families and beginning their wedding planning experience, choosing the venue first. Onsite tours are vital to our survival, especially during this engagement season. It is a primary income source during winter, which is understandably less busy with events in Minnesota. We rely on new bookings and deposits to get through these months with fewer events (or no events at all) and to project our next year or two of business.
Tours are generally conducted with 1-3 people onsite. At PAIKKA, we have one salesperson onsite at a time conducting a tour for 1-2 clients. We would happily limit the number of people allowed onsite to 3 maximum (venue salesperson and 2 clients), if it meant we could safely conduct in person tours for prospective clients. These tours are done at a safe distance, as empty venues are essentially large, open spaces that allow for ample distance between humans. Masks are required to enter, and the tours only last up to 30 minutes total. All other communication is done via email after the initial onsite tour. There is much less contact and potential for exposure than many other services and spaces that are currently allowed to be open and operating (salons, retail, grocery stores, etc). Without the ability to conduct tours, event venues have no other options to generate income. Unlike restaurants, there is no way to pivot. Our inventory is our square footage, and we must be allowed the opportunity to promote and sustain our businesses during this extremely difficult time. Likewise, Clients are finding it hard to understand why some venues (who are not complying with the no-tour rule), are offering tours and some are not. Those of us who are abiding by the no tour rule are seeing the loss of our only possible income, and are in turn being accused by clients of enticing sales, sight-unseen.
We would like to propose an edit to Executive Order 20-99’s Venue Guidance allowing Event Venues in Minnesota to conduct in person tours with a maximum of 3 people onsite at one time, for a maximum of 30 minutes total and 15 minutes between tours to sanitize and eliminate risk of exposure between client groups.
Below you will find signatures from our fellow venue owners who support this request.
Thank you for considering our proposal.
All my best,
Owner PAIKKA LLC