BOLI Joins Wedding Vendors in Rally to Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

The catering industry rallied to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow larger gatherings.

COVID-19 shut down the country in March. And as Long Island went through the reopening phases after months of being closed, one industry seems to still be on pause – the wedding industry! This is causing unnecessary stress on brides, and forcing businesses and, even venues, to shut their doors for good.

On Friday, Oct. 2, members of the catering industry decided to take action. DJs, florists, venue operators and brides rallied in Hauppauge to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ease the COVID-19 restrictions, just as he has with other businesses. Right now, venues are only able to host events with a 50 person maximum limit. They want to be able to host events at 50% capacity, which is what restaurants are allowed.

“Catering facilities have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy with no cash flow since March and living on loans; they must be allowed to operate at 50% capacity,” said the rally’s organizer Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.

All vendors from invitations and bridal shops to bakeries, photographers and transportation services have suffered as a result of the pandemic. According to Giglio, the catering industry is not asking for a full reopening, but rather just the same rules as other businesses across Long Island.

As many brides know, events have been moved to backyards, which could create dangerous situations if proper safety protocols are not in place. In addition, some venues have had their liquor license removed as a result of not following the 50 person limit.

Brides of Long Island owner Heather Cunningham represented all brides at the event.

“I’m not asking for a packed dance floor,” said Cunningham.

I’m asking for that moment where a father can dance with his daughter.”

Click here to see Heather speak.

Cunningham read stories of brides who have had to postpone several times due to the pandemic, and the hardships that resulted of postponing. This includes a bride who’s future husband got deployed before their wedding, as well as the bride whose father passed away after she postponed. She also shared how she lost her own business, the Wedding Warehouse, as a result of COVID-19.

Gov. Cuomo’s office did respond to the rally with a statement that large events increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. He added that while some are upset about the rules, it’s better to be “unhappy than sick.”

Meanwhile, brides, venues and vendors continue to get creative with ways to celebrate their big days. Some continue to postpone, while others are cutting their guest lists and enjoying with close friends and family. After all, at the end of the day, it’s about love and starting a new adventure together.