Events industry pushing for guidance to return to work in Colorado


DENVER (KDVR) — Employees in the special events industry are frustrated by the lack of information they’ve received from the state regarding a potential timeline for returning to work in a greater capacity.

“The special events industry really got crushed in this pandemic, similar to a lot of other industries when the entire state shut down,” said Brynn Swanson with the Colorado Event Alliance.

Swanson says the Colorado Event Alliance was formed at the start of the COVID-19 crisis to help raise funds for workers left unemployed. She says now, they’re fighting to get back to work.

Frustrations grew as the state announced plans to allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in service.

“We weren’t on their radar. They were very honest — they don’t know the wedding and special events industry,” said Swanson.

Swanson says the alliance has worked closely with a representative in the governor’s office and even drafted a proposal for safely returning to work. Under the current “Safer at Home” phase, events such as weddings can only go forward with 10 people or fewer. Swanson says special events could move forward with larger groups while maintaining safe practices.

“I think one of the benefits of a special event is it’s invitation-only. So our contact tracing is much higher than a restaurant where anyone can walk in at any point,” said Swanson.

Swanson says based on conversations with the state, she expected more detailed guidance for the special events industry June 1. 

The state issued a statement in response to the matter:

“The state will continue to monitor data to determine if Safer at Home orders can be further modified to phase in other activities. The Governor will make these decisions on a rolling basis, based on the latest data and evidence,” said a spokesperson.

The state’s response did not specify a timeline for when the events industry may receive more information and did not address what sets event venues apart from restaurants.

Swanson says the Colorado events industry is at risk of losing vendors if restrictions are not loosened within the next month.

“The florist up the street isn’t going to be there if we’re not allowed to reopen in some capacity. Your favorite caterer isn’t going to be there the next time you have a dinner party. That’s the reality of it,” said Swanson.

Swanson says they are working on requesting variances in certain counties to allow larger events.

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