GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Wedding and banquet halls from all over the area have come together to pen a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, urging her to give them the ability to reopen ahead of 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 in order to survive," the letter reads in part.
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"It is unfair to single out banquet venues and limit them to a 10-person threshold when there are other instances that allow safe gatherings of 100-guests at a time."
The industry has been overwhelmingly placed on hold since the onset of the pandemic.
“Its been a complete nightmare,” Robert Deverna, manager at New Vintage Place, told FOX 17 Tuesday.
“The hardest part is we're not getting any direction from the government or health department, as far as, hey, this is when things might be able to open back up, and so it's just been a constant battle of people looking for information, but no information being provided.”
For months, the halls at venues like New Vintage Place have sat empty, as brides and grooms have been forced to reschedule, and in some cases cancel, their big days.
Daverna says most venues in West Michigan he has been in touch with are dealing with empty calendars at least through March.
“As we approach springtime, and folks are thinking about their weddings, it's really difficult for these venues, who haven't been able to really perform operations since we shut down originally, to plan out and start reserving weddings or other functions,” said Joshua Lunger, senior director of government affairs at the GR Chamber.
And of course, it's not just wedding venues taking a massive financial hit.
“You've got the venue itself, but you have all the others, there might be a caterer or multiple, there's the event planning services, there's a whole connected system,” Lunger said Tuesday.
And Daverna adding, “a lot of vendors, other small businesses are involved, from florists to caterers to photographers, DJs, photo booth companies, limo services, even the bridal shops, tuxedo rentals."
The venues who signed the letter to Governor Whitmer have been in touch to develop a set of best practices for once they are allowed to reopen their doors.
Lunger saying Tuesday, “the overwhelming sentiment I keep hearing is, please let us do something so we can stand on our own 2 feet, and we're prepared to be flexible and adjust to the, you know, the obvious health requirements that are in place for some time.”
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