Wedding industry relieved as Ohio eases COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings

Coronavirus

CLEVELAND (WJW)– For Gina Jokilehto-Schigel, owner of Shi-Shi Events, it was the news she had been waiting for.

“We are totally headed in the right direction with this news. Last year, we only executed four weddings, which really is a significant change for us,” Schigel said.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health loosened COVID-19 restrictions regarding mass gatherings. Now, event and banquet centers no longer have to comply with the previously-issued 300-person limitation. However, all events, including weddings, funerals and proms, still must comply with mask wearing and social distancing.

“What that means is we are able to sit people at tables at 10, instead of with their own families. It even looks like bars will be okay in their traditional sense,” Schigel said.

“We originally had 30 weddings on the books for 2020. Twenty-seven of them moved back,” said Jacob Holland, owner of Gordon Green.

The newly-opened event center specializes in weddings.

“We can typically seat 300. With social distancing and these amendments, we still want to cap it at 200 guests, just for the safety of our guests and our staff,” Holland said.

With a wedding photography company of his own, David Swidrak is both happy and hopeful.

“I’m excited for my couples really. I know that has just been a cloud over everyone’s weddings. I have 35 weddings ahead of me this year. This means, we are a go!” Swidrak said.

That’s not all. The state also opened the door for a limited number of spectators for sports gatherings and entertainment venues. All indoor sports and entertainment venues can now have up to a fixed 25 percent seated capacity. All outdoor sports and entertainment venues must comply with a 30 percent seated capacity.

“It’s perfect timing because we are right on the cusp on when people would decide to reschedule or postpone,” Swidrak said.

  Both changes are effective immediately.

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