No change for Hawaii weddings after industry executives meet with Governor David Ige
HONOLULU (KHON2) – Executives in the wedding industry in Hawaii met with Governor David Ige on Thursday, September 30 to discuss how they can work with him to enable people to marry and ensure the safety of everyone while COVID restrictions and guidelines are in place.
Current guidelines limit events to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors until Tuesday, October 19. Monty Pereira of the Small Business Advisory Council and other leaders in the wedding industry hoped to get a feel for what was to come so they could better plan for the future.
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Pereira said Governor Ige was gracious and listened to all of their concerns, but there are currently no immediate changes or updates to the timeline.
The COVID pandemic has hit the wedding industry particularly hard, forcing them to close several times since 2020.
“Just being constantly stopped is a problem because there is always deceleration and ramping up. It’s not like you can turn it off and have a wedding, ”Pereira explained.
The the last round of restrictions came at the end of August, which restricted gathering sizes. But Pereira said marriages are different.
“That’s where the emphasis is – it’s really about trying to separate professional weddings from a social gathering that takes place in someone’s backyard or on a beach, and that is kind of what we’re looking at. There are 10 inside and 25 outside and that includes the vendors, the bride, the groom, the parents, everyone, so it’s not a lot, ”Pereira explained.
According to Pereira, during the meeting, Governor Ige agreed there was a difference between a professionally run wedding and a social gathering, but said it would be difficult to tell the two apart.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, COVID-19 healthcare liaison, said there could be a compromise in two weeks.
Pereira said professional vendors have a detailed mitigation strategy in place. But he added that there are rogue marriages that are neither monitored nor vetted.
“We know that back in the days when the marriage that received a lot of publicity for the spread of COVID was not a professional marriage,” Pereira said. “There was no professional there to hold people accountable, which is why it happened.”
In August, the The Department of Health (DOH) has reported a cluster of marriages linked to 17 cases and one death. Thirteen of those infected, including the deceased, have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus. Participants also reported that the masks were not worn consistently and that there was no physical distancing.
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According to Pereira, Governor Ige asked to see their proposed mitigation strategy, which also included a request to increase the capacity of weddings from 25 to 100 people outside.