COVID-19 and The New England Wedding Industry
The New England wedding industry is one of the countless professions deeply impacted financially by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic. With in-person weddings temporarily on hold, social distancing restrictions, as well as a lack of clear answers, The wedding industry is one of the countless professions deeply impacted financially by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s Happening Now
For some, pandemic obstacles such as the required social distancing can easily be overcome by vendors whose line of work naturally allows distance between them and their client to begin with. For example, photographers, videographers, band musicians, DJs, and florists are all able to perform their jobs while maintaining 6 feet between any client or guest. However, other vendors do not have the ability to maintain any type of distance while performing their job.
Hair and makeup artists, ministers, servers, caterers, floral preservationists, and clothing suppliers face a larger dilemma since their practices focus mainly on close human contact. Typically, a bridal party would all gather together in close proximity of each other. More often in a tight space, while they get ready for the wedding. In these times, that seems to be understandably out of the question to do. Once-beloved group photos, large gatherings of loved ones, and even any type of affection with those who are not quarantined together would now be considered high-risk and potentially dangerous.
As a makeup artist who specializes in New England weddings, I understand the justifiable fear. In addition the relative unknowns among and regarding the wedding professionals who do work in close contact with others. I also understand that changes must be made to address those concerns to mitigate any risks. Currently, in Massachusetts, all clients are required to wear masks throughout the entirety of their beauty services.
While hairstylists may be able to perform their tasks with clients wearing a mask, it would be more difficult for makeup artists to do so. One potential solution I have considered for makeup artists to be able to perform their job safely would be to have the makeup artists “double-up” on their personal protective equipment (PPE); wearing both a mask and face shield. This would protect themselves and their clients. All PPE would be sanitized before and after every single client. This would allow the makeup artist to actually do the job they’ve been contracted to and perform the craft we’re known for.
For venues though, planning and precaution is key. The first would be determining the level of contact for areas and which ones could be reduced. Venue staff and servers would be essential as they are providing the foodservice and could be able to maintain the social distancing guidelines that are currently in place. Clothing vendors, such as dress boutiques and tuxedo/suit suppliers may move to contactless delivery because they have the ability to provide the essentials needed but can limit their contact. This is just the beginning and these stricter guidelines are what is needed at this time.
We Need Answers
Couples who have weddings planned for this year may feel stuck in limbo. In addition, feel as clueless as the independent workers do. It seems the more indecisive we all become, the more questions we may think of. One of the biggest questions I hear from my current or prospective clients is, “What should we do?” and as for my fellow vendors, it’s “What should I pay this month?” For some wedding vendors, this is their second job. Because of this, they are unable to collect the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that is being offered; leading some wedding business owners unable to pay their expenses.
New England Wedding professionals, as well as the community of Massachusetts as a whole, need answers. What are the guidelines? How can we safely and effectively adhere to them? Is it possible to have a large wedding in 2020? Some couples may be willing to delay the date of their big day for a while, but the looming question of “When can we get married the way we’ve always dreamed of?” will continue to grow more prominent each day that passes. With no clear answers from the medical professionals on what will happen with this pandemic, we, as wedding professionals, can offer no clear answers to our clients.
Although we have a few answers at the moment, all we can do is hope. Also as time passes, further clarity will be provided in the form of guidelines. Also regulations, and forward-thinking can bring a sense of normalcy back to our uncertain world.
Thank you for Reading and may I please ask you to share and spread the word? Thank you!