Saturday, April 10, 2021

No wild weddings

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.

Wedding receptions are unlikely to again look like this one anytime soon. Photo at Erlowest by Mary Kelly Photography

The rules on dancing are many.

  • 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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