DENVER (KDVR) — Wedding planners, caterers and others who plan major functions have not yet received guidance on how to resume operating their businesses. Many have been without clients since March due to the pandemic.
For months, event planners have been asking the state for some guidance on how to start holding large gatherings again.
This billion-dollar industry says it’s fearing the worst if they don’t get back to work soon.
Occasions Catering is one local business trying to survive.
“It’s been so dramatic. We celebrated our 50th anniversary and had this huge party on Feb. 26 to celebrate 50 years serving Denver. Two and a half weeks later, we were shut down due to the pandemic,” said Occasions Catering co-owner Jeremy Bronson.
First Look Events of Denver has had to put 40 events on hold.
Currently, indoor receptions are limited to 10 people.
“My business has come to an absolute halt. I have made zero money since the pandemic hit,” said First Look Events owner Brynn Swanson said.
The Colorado Events Alliance offered a 20-page plan of its own for reopening. Among other things, it offered the governor ideas on how to safely serve up to 100 people in small venues and 300 in larger ones.
But in a Zoom virtual meeting with Gov. Jared Polis Monday, the governor proposed events like wedding receptions, concerts and markets be limited to 25% capacity or 50 people max to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Larger venues could host up to 100 guests under Polis’ proposal.
But those in the special events industry say that is still not enough to keep them afloat.
There was no indication of when large events like conferences, fundraisers, galas and nonprofit events will be able to resume.
“It leaves us in a situation where there are hundreds of businesses that don’t know when they can get back to work,” Swanson said.
In a CEA survey, 45% of special events businesses surveyed in Colorado say they are at risk of closing if current restrictions stay in place through July.
The governor’s office is taking recommendations on indoor and outdoor activity guidelines.
Established guidelines are expected to be released this weekend.
A spokesperson for Polis sent the following statement:
“The Governor understands that this is a difficult time for many Coloradans and businesses. Gov. Polis is making decisions based on the latest data and there is no crystal ball to tell us exactly what the next few months will look like and wish we could have next week’s data today but that’s not the reality. The Governor will continue working with the state’s top epidemiologists and public health experts to make decisions that prioritize public health while minimizing the impact to Colorado’s economy.”
Video credit: Alpine Tree Films