A B.C. wedding planner says her industry needs clarity about when it will be able to operate again. Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions could put many out of business, she says.
On Tuesday, provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry extended the latest round of restrictions covering wedding and funeral receptions due to the threat the Omicron variant presents to the health-care system.
“We’re just in a complete shutdown, where the health order just says no indoor organized gatherings or events and that is affecting a several billion-dollar industry made up of small businesses,” Spotlight Events owner Paige Petriw said.
“If we don’t have a clear, long-term plan and consistency, no more uncertainty about what is going to happen six months from now, a lot of these small businesses aren’t going to survive. We might be one of them.”
Petriw said she doesn’t understand why events are being treated differently than malls, restaurants, movie theatres, gyms and large sporting events.
She said organized events are run by professionals, who are have already created COVID-19 safety plans and are willing to follow any specific restrictions necessary to operate safely.
North Vancouver couple forced to cancel wedding due to COVID-19 restrictions for a third time
On Friday, Henry said the province wasn’t yet where it wanted to be “when we are living with this virus in an endemic state.”
“But I do believe we will be moving towards that,” she said.
Earlier in the week, Henry she clarified that weddings and funerals themselves are not prohibited.
“It’s the celebrations of life or the wedding receptions and parties afterwards that have been suspended for now,” she said.
Mixed reaction to BC’s latest round of restrictions
“I think the commentary out there is that events and gatherings are just big parties … An event that is managed by a professional company isn’t that. It’s no different than any other business,” Petriw said.
“We’re not asking for dancing. Whatever measures need to be put in place for safety, we are on board with. We just don’t want to be shut down, we want to be able to work, to earn our livelihoods, and to start to recover our businesses.”
The current extension of restrictions carries through to Feb. 16, at which the province will reassess whether to extend them again.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.