Weddings, cancelled. Quinceañeras, cancelled. Concerts, cancelled.
2020 has been the year of cancellation. Thousands of events and weddings have had to be either cancelled or postponed nationwide until further notice due to COVID-19.
This has left thousands feeling distraught as they have had to move plans around in order to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their areas.
“I was devastated honestly,” said soon-to-be bride, Mireya Ordoñez. “It’s very sad because my wedding was something I was looking forward to; something I’ve spent a lot of time, energy and money on.”
Ordoñez, 24, was set to become the next Mrs. BuenRostro this November, but COVID-19 had other plans for her.
After a long and detailed conversation between the venue’s receptionist and Ordoñez, the receptionist advised postponing Ordoñez’s wedding to February of the upcoming 2021 year.
The CDC has set out guidelines that are meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 concerning large group gatherings including but not limited to weddings, concerts, festivals, parades, etc.
Some CDC recommended guidelines are:
• Encouraging both reception staff and guests to stay home if feeling sick, having tested positive for COVID-19 and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
• Social distancing between staff and attendees
• Staff is required to wear facial coverings
• Encourage attendees to wear masks
• Staff has to constantly wash hands with soap and water and/ or constantly sanitize hands with hand sanitizer
“I can’t emphasize the importance of maintaining clean areas,” said ASU faculty associate in the College of Health Solutions, Alexandra Bhatti.
Bhatti believes mass gatherings pose a high risk amid COVID-19 and therefore, stresses being mindful of oneself and those around us at events like these.
Lidia Jasmin Verdugo, manager at Antigua Garden, a wedding venue in central Phoenix, provided in depth information on the new protocols their venue is implementing amid the virus.
“Our normal maximum capacity is 200 guests, but because of COVID-19 we’re only allowing 50% of our capacity,” said Verdugo.
Soon-to-be bride, Ordoñez, encountered the same new protocol with her venue of choice for her upcoming wedding.
The venue is limiting guests now, said Ordoñez. Originally, 400 people were going to be invited but because of the reception’s 50% capacity, only 200 guests will be allowed to attend the reception.
“We’re only inviting our closest friends and family members,” said Ordoñez. “Which is not the norm for us Mexicans, well at least for my family.”
Antigua Garden venue is enforcing social distancing for the safety of both guests and staff as well as requiring the use of masks for staff while leaving it optional for guests but highly encouraged, said Verdugo.
“I’m requiring my guests to have masks and if sick, to stay home even though their presence will be missed at the celebration,” said Ordoñez.
Ordoñez’s wedding invitations will include the following: Please bring your mask if you’re planning to attend. We greatly appreciate it.
Verdugo also added that at the entrance and at every guest table, there will be hand sanitizer for everyone to use.
“Our mission is to help create a memorable story for the entire group and to keep everybody safe,” said Verdugo.
Venues should support employees not coming into work if they feel sick, said Bhatti. When greeting one another, elbow taps are encouraged rather than hugs.
Wearing a mask, disinfecting areas before and after, proving hand sanitizer throughout a party, being creative on seating arrangements (less people per table and spread out) are ways “you can really reduce a risk and help mitigate the spread,” said Bhatti.
For more information regarding CDC recommended COVID-19 guidelines, check out their website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/considerations-for-eventsgatherings.