young people dancing

May 3, 2021 – As Washington, DC begins its next phase of reopening, one rule has spurred couples to look elsewhere for wedding venues: Dancing is prohibited at indoor and outdoor receptions.

According to a regulation that went into effect on Saturday, facilities and venues can now host weddings of up to 250 people. But those who leave have to stay seated and socially distant. Standing and dancing at receptions is not allowed, and this includes cocktail hours.

“There was hardly any time to react instead of being incredibly frustrated and angry,” Stephanie Sadowski, wedding planner and founder of SRS Events, told WUSA9.

About a month ago, the mayor’s office announced that the pandemic restrictions on weddings would be adjusted as needed, the news channel reported. Last week’s update surprised couples and event planners alike. Now some people are trying to move their weddings to Maryland or Virginia to find looser restrictions.

Sadowski, for example, had four weddings planned for June in DC, and now she’s trying to move them all. Couples with fall weddings also ask her what to do.

“I can’t even believe we’re in 2021 right now and we’re saying no dancing,” she said. “Why can’t we just have masks?”

The executive order includes a number of new provisions in phase two of the DC reopening, including restrictions on retail stores, restaurants, bars, gyms, childcare facilities, colleges, cinemas and live entertainment venues.

In most cases the capacity is increased from 25% to 50% or to around 250 people. Live music can be played outdoors in restaurants, but customers must remain seated and be served at their tables. Live entertainment venues can host plays, concerts, and other performances as long as participants sit and stay with their own household members.

Multi-purpose facilities and venues can host regional business meetings, conventions, weddings, and other special events for up to 250 people. The participants must remain seated and be socially distant. If food is included, facilities must follow licensed food establishment rules.

The implementing ordinance applies until May 20th, unless the mayor’s office issues another update. Anyone violating the regulation can be fined, and venues can suspend or revoke their business licenses.

“We’re used to wearing masks at this point, we’ve been doing that since March,” said Jillian Hartig, who plans to get married in DC in July, to FOX 5 DC. She hopes the restrictions will change by then.

“Why not get dancing but make masks a requirement or even require a negative COVID test for wedding guests or show your vaccination card,” she said.