GRAND RAPIDS, me. – Wedding and banquet halls from across the area have teamed up to write a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer urging her to give them the opportunity to reopen before their busy season.
Last week the Grand Rapids Chamber helped bring together over 2 dozen venues to put the letter together.
“Our industry needs immediate action to survive,” the letter said in part.
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“It is unfair to pick banquet halls and limit them to a threshold of 10 people when there are other instances where 100 guests can safely gather together at the same time.”
The industry has mostly been put on hold since the outbreak of the pandemic.
“It was a nightmare,” Robert Deverna, manager at New Vintage Place, told FOX 17 Tuesday.
“The hardest part is that we don’t get any direction from the government or the health department to the extent that it is possible for things to open up again, and it’s just been a constant struggle of people looking for information but it doesn’t get information provided. “
The halls in places like New Vintage Place have been empty for months as brides and grooms have been forced to postpone their big days and, in some cases, cancel.
Daverna said most of the West Michigan venues he had contact with had blank calendars through at least March.
“As spring approaches and people are thinking about their weddings, it is very difficult for these venues that have not had surgery since we originally closed to plan and reserve weddings or other events,” he told Joshua Lunger , Senior Director of Government Affairs in the GR Chamber.
And of course, it’s not just wedding venues that have massive financial success.
“You have the venue yourself, but you have everyone else, there can be one or more caterers, there is the event planning services, there is a whole connected system,” Lunger said Tuesday.
And Daverna added, “There are many vendors and other small businesses involved, from florists to caterers to photographers, DJs, photo booth companies, limo services, even bridal shops and tuxedo rentals.”
The venues that signed the letter to Governor Whitmer have been in contact to develop a number of best practices as soon as they are allowed to reopen their doors.
Lunger said Tuesday, “The overwhelming feeling I keep hearing is, please let’s do something so that we can stand on our own two feet. We are ready to be flexible and adapt to the obvious health requirements on the spot for some time. “
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