GRAND RAPIDS, me. – The Grand Rapids Chamber organized a letter last week, signed by more than two dozen organizations, urging the state to safely open wedding functions and banquet centers immediately.
Currently, these venues are limited to a threshold of 10 people, according to a press release on Tuesday.
In other cases, 100 guests can be gathered at a time.
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“Wedding and banquet venues have a tremendous impact on the economic vitality of our communities and deserve the opportunity to work safely,” said Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber. “These companies are helping vendors, filling hotels and drawing visitors to West Michigan.”
Venue owners advise that time is required to start and schedule events.
“Our industry naturally takes significant lead time to get up and running to host events,” said Patti Zylstra, owner of South Haven Creations / Catered Creations Inc. “We’re not like a restaurant that comes on two weeks later. Events are being postponed for two or more months so we need a reopening plan with dates. Otherwise we will continue to lose bookings in two to three months.
They also ask why venues cannot reopen when other businesses like restaurants have been able to do so in the past few weeks.
“Almost every other sector of the economy has been given some sort of return to work to support themselves,” said Rob DeVerna, owner of The Lit. “As vaccines go out and the case numbers go down, all we ask is , the same chance. “
“We have worked hard to adapt to best practices and are ready to adhere to social distancing and other requirements necessary to safely serve our guests,” said Kelsi Gaunt, operations manager of the Harris building. “We just need the opportunity to get these practices up and running.”
Read the full letter from the Grand Rapids Chamber here.