Wedding Venues To Allow Full Cancellation Due To COVID-19 Measures By Government

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Update 4: Refer to separate update below

Update 3:

Some affected brides and grooms over at a major Telegram group chat have come together to create a black/whitelist for fellow couples to share their opinion about vendors they are working with. Found the relevant links in this article.

Update 2: To Postpone or To Cancel?

After surveying the opinion of affected brides and grooms across multiple social media platforms such as groupchats on Whatsapp, Telegram and Facebook groups, it seems that more people are in favor of weddings venues allowing the cancellation and full refund of the banquet, rather than just postponing the event.

Reasons given are more or less uniform. Traditional wedding ceremonies need plenty of time (up to 1 year in advance) to prepare for, with some customs requiring the calculation of auspicious dates for multiple pre-banquet events. There is also a lot of coordination work required to ensure all the vendors engaged for the banquet are free on the same date. Vendors include photographers, videographers, make-up artists, gown and suit rental, outfit rental for family, bridal car and floral decoration bookings etc. In addition, the availability of the bride and groom themselves are also subject to their job requirement and leave application. Not limiting to just these few reasons, one can already see that postponement of the banquet is not a simple decision; definitely not one that can be made within a short period of time.

As such, many would rather just call for a proper full cancellation, receive a full refund of all fees paid. When the COVID-19 situation gets better and there is a clearer picture of how the government is relaxing on measures pertaining to mass gathering, couples will then feel more confident in inviting and hosting their guests. When the time comes, couples will then be able to re-organise their banquets at their own convenience.

Update 1:

Post DPM Heng Swee Keat's Supplementary Budget announcement on 26th March, Law Minister K. Shanmugam and his ministry will be presenting measures to deal with legality problems faced by the cancellation of big events. Mr. K. Shanmugam has also been added to the contact list this petition is being sent to.

https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/govt-to-offer-relief-from-legal-obligations-for-cancelled-large-gatherings-due-to-covid-19

(For those curious in how will this petition reach the decision makers, you may refer to the Change.org article linked here. TL;DR: "Change.org will notify your decision maker about your petition as soon as you reach 5 signatures. Your decision maker will also be notified periodically as your signature count rises")

Current situation at a glance:

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid19-events-gatherings-suspended-june-250-participants-12560620

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-bars-cinemas-entertainment-venues-closed-gatherings-12571538

With reference to these news which were released over a short span of just 3 days apart, many brides and grooms who are having their wedding banquet in April, May and even June are panicking now, with many questioning whether their special day will still be happening.

Hotels and wedding venues have also been very unhelpful to these newlyweds-to-be with their enquiry for postponement and cancellation. Many hotels do not even allow their couples to reduce tables. Some hotels/venues do give very limited flexibility such as only postponement of a few months being allowed, or cancellation but with 100% of the payment as penalty. Despite some hotels/venues being flexible enough to allow for a change of date, any chosen date that's in 2021 and beyond will mean incurring extra surcharges. This is akin to profiteering in times of crisis and holding couples hostage. Singapore's traditional weddings are usually being held on auspicious dates which are pre-calculated, as such, it is not easy to just go with any dates the hotels/venues suggest.

Many couples have already reduced their number of guests multiple times, from 300 to 250, to 100, 50 and now with the latest advisory by MOH to keep gatherings below 10 participants, it just isn't wise or logical to proceed with organizing a banquet anymore.

What the problem might be:

The Ministry of Health's news release only advise for such events to be kept to 10 persons or below. With it only being an advisory, a lot of hotels and wedding venues are not willing to see it as mandatory and hence are still expecting couples to have their banquets go on as usual, or risk forfeiting deposits or even 100% of the fees.

What can be done by the government:

The government can officially release a press release with instructions to these hotels/venue providers to work with their couples to work on their banquet cancellations and to provide even up to full refund if required. The COVID-19 situation is fluid and not one that will cease to exist in a matter of months. No one can predict accurately when will it be safe for mass gatherings and celebrations again. Allowing couples to have their full refund will mean that they will not be pressured by the hotels/venues to choose alternative dates or face forfeiting deposits. The government can be more firm with enforcing the 10-participants limitations instead of it being just an advisory.

Petition will be forwarded to:

Gan Kim Yong - gan_kim_yong@moh.gov.sg

Lawrence Wong - lawrencewongst@gmail.com

K. Shanmugam - k_shanmugam@mlaw.gov.sg

Josephine Teo - josephine_teo@mom.gov.sg

Roy Teo (Director, Conference & Events, MinLaw) - roy_teo@mlaw.gov.sg

Melanie Chng (Director, Special Projects, MinLaw) - melanie_chng@mlaw.gov.sg

Keith Tan (CE, STB) - keith_tan@stb.gov.sg

Tan Yen Nee (Director, Policy & Planning Hotels, STB) - tan_yen_nee@stb.gov.sg

Charmaine Ng (Straits Times) - ngxtc@sph.com.sg

(For those curious in how will this petition reach the decision makers, you may refer to the Change.org article linked here. TL;DR: "Change.org will notify your decision maker about your petition as soon as you reach 5 signatures. Your decision maker will also be notified periodically as your signature count rises")