By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor
New York State is easing its Covid wedding reception rules as of March 15 — allowing as many as 150 attendees or 50% of capacity, whichever is less — but don’t assume the party can be hearty.
- Attendees may dance with only members of their immediate party/household/family seated at their table.
- Attendees must wear face coverings in their assigned dancing area and cannot enter, use, or otherwise visit other dancing areas or zones.
- Attendees designated prior to the event may participate in ceremonial dances (e.g., first dances at a wedding reception) with members of their immediate party/household/family but must maintain six feet of separation from other attendees.
- They can dance only in clearly marked areas assigned to them. Ideally, each dancing area or zone should not be less than 36 square feet.
- Live music performers and other entertainers, particularly if unmasked or playing a wind instrument, must be separated from attendees by either 12 feet or an appropriate physical barrier.
The burden is on the venue — the “responsible party” — to enforce all rules.
- Responsible Parties must submit event details to the local health authority, at least 5 days in advance of the event date.
- Responsible Parties must require each attendee to sign-in with address, email, and phone number for use in potential contact tracing efforts.
- Responsible Parties must ensure all attendees have received a negative diagnostic test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the event.
Alternatively, attendees may provide proof of having completed the COVID-19 vaccination series at least 14 days prior to the date of the event. But the State adds: DOH, in consultation with CDC, will continue to monitor vaccination developments and revise guidance accordingly.
- Responsible Parties must ensure that attendees, employees, and event staff wear acceptable face coverings at all times; attendees may remove their face coverings when seated at their assigned table to eat or drink.
- Responsible Parties may temporarily allow certain attendees to remove face coverings while presenting/speaking, provided that attendee maintain 12 feet of social distance, or be separated by an appropriate physical barrier.
- Responsible Parties may provide cocktail receptions where standing is permitted with strict adherence to social distancing; provided, however, attendees only remove their face coverings and consume food and beverages while seated. Attendees must not remove their face covering or consume food and beverage if members of different parties/households/families are within six feet.
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