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Get the most up to date knowledge of the restrictions on private gatherings in this exclusive New England COVID 19 report. 

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Updated: 6/13/2020

As a full service production company, serving the entirety of New England , we have been paying special attention to the gradual release information that most directly pertains to gatherings and private events. Below, we have broken down each jurisdiction into its own section, and will continue to update as each New England State releases more information.


New Hampshire

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New Hampshire is a date which is anticipated to take less time in their reopening of the economy and other aspects that relate to private events and large gatherings. With their “live free or die” motto, New Hampshire has already rescheduled things like Laconia Motorcycle week to August 22-30th of 2020 and is beginning to open up aspects of the economy related to gatherings and lodgings.

According to one source, “Progressive Laconia Motorcycle Week has officially been postponed to August 22-30, 2020. The announcement was made shortly after the Laconia City Council unanimously decided to reschedule the rally in keeping with the governor’s mid-May extension of the state’s stay-at-home order. The consensus was that June was too early for a gathering of tens of thousands of people in Weirs Beach and beyond, particularly considering that most visitors travel from out of state.”

Weddings and dining

The Governor just released and approved these NEW guidelines for the Food Services Industry for Phase 2 which begins June 15th. These guidelines ARE different than the ones the task force approved, but in a GREAT way. Here’s a breakdown of what’s most important for YOU with the bold areas added by me (please note that “should”, “discouraged”, “encouraged” and “preferable” are not MANDATORY):
 
General Business Guidance:
8) Kitchen staff shall wear face coverings while working in the kitchen and around others in settings where social distancing may be difficult (i.e.working in a kitchen where staff cannot maintain a distance of 6 feet between in each other in a break room).
 
9) Customers should be asked to bring and wear a cloth face covering when entering and exiting a facility to protect other patrons and employees during the seating and exiting process, or when getting up to use the restroom. Cloth face coverings are not necessary while a customer is seated and dining outdoors.
 
Consumer Protection:
5) Tables spacing (both indoors and outdoors) should be maintained so people sitting at adjacent tables are more than 6 feet apart, and servers and waiters/waitresses should be able to maintain social distance while interacting with tables (e.g. taking orders). People moving between tables (e.g. customers going to the restroom) should also have adequate space to move between tables.
 
8) Bar areas can open while following social distancing protocols between groups or individuals seated at the bar (capacity may be affected to maintain the appropriate social distancing). Customers are not allowed to stand/mingle in the bar area and must be seated (no groups interacting with each other). Games and other bar functions (e.g. pool/billiards, darts, arcade games, etc.) are not allowed.
 
9) Small group bands and solo music artists are allowed to perform in outdoor areas as long as they can maintain social distance of 6 feet apart from each other and any table.
 
Business Process Adaptations:
2) Place hand sanitizer stations in restaurant lobby, reception, cashier stations, bathrooms, and other frequently used areas throughout the establishment.
 
6) Use of‘self-serve’ utensils, plates or napkins, are not allowed. Consider using rolled silverware and eliminating table presets.
 
9) No self-serve buffets, appetizers, condiments on a counter for use by multiple tables, or beverage station re-use are allowed.
 
10) Employee-staffed buffets are allowed so that staff only are touching serving utensils and serving customers; social distancing in serving lines must be maintained. Barriers (e.g. Plexiglas barriers, sneeze guards, etc.) are recommended for employee-served buffets to protect employees and customers. Employees serving and customers going through a buffet line must wear cloth face coverings while waiting in line, serving/being served, walking to/from the buffet.
 
Wedding, Catering & Function Hall Addendum:
 
When planning these events, please consider the following: crowd density, nature of contact between participants, number of participants coming from states or areas that are currently heavily impacted by COVID-19 within 14 days of the event, age or health of the participants, duration and mode of travel of participants, and that the length of the event may increase the risk of transmission.
 
For wedding ceremonies, organizers should follow the universal guidance and places of worship guidance.
 
For post-wedding celebrations and meals, organizers must follow the food service guidance as well as the following:
Outdoor events are preferable to indoor events to reduce the risk of exposure and spread to attendees. All organizers, staff, volunteers and attendees are strongly encouraged to follow physical distancing guidelines. This includes maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals and a distance of 6 feet between household groups. Outdoor venues may operate within any existing occupancy limits, as long as social distancing can be maintained.
 
Indoor events in venues may operate at 50 percent of their normal operating seating capacity. This 50 percent capacity limit applies statewide notwithstanding the Food Service Guidance that allows for 100% capacity in restaurants in certain counties. There should be a limit of 6 individuals at a single table. Other applicable provisions of the Food Service Guidance must be followed.
 
Crowding should be minimized, and organizers should consider using distancing measures to reduce close contact among people during the gathering.  This includes staggering of arrivals and departures and minimizing congregation at sanitary stations, rest rooms, and water/drink distribution areas.
 
Dancing within 6 feet of another individual is discouraged, with the exception of family members and individuals from the same household.
Face coverings should be worn when social distancing is not possible between household groups.
 
Consider displaying posters and signs around the venue to remind attendees and staff to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is taking a much more cautious and long winded approach in its opening. Governor Charlie Baker has reopened golf courses with semi strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines, but many other aspects of the world of private and public gatherings remain a mystery. The Commonwealth has extended its stay at home order until May 18th and no solid information pertaining to gatherings has been provided.

According to the National law Review, as of March 23, 2020, “COVID-19 Order No. 13 directs Massachusetts residents to practice social distancing and prohibits gatherings of more than ten people in any confined indoor or outdoor space, except for the operations or activities of any business or organization that is providing COVID-19 Essential Services. COVID-19 Order No. 13 does not prohibit gatherings in unenclosed, outdoor spaces such as a park, athletic field, or parking lot if there is no close, physical contact.” 

The outlook for Massachusetts gatherings is difficult to know for the next week or so, but we will aim to provide more information as time goes by. Massachusetts has, however, issued a mandate requiring individuals to wear face coverings in settings where social distancing is not possible. 

Update: Massachusetts has released its newest guidelines as of May 18, 2020 and the news for gatherings and weddings is not ideal. Gatherings are still restricted to less than 10 people where social distancing is not possible. As we enter Phase 1, there are no estimates for exactly when those restrictions will be lifted, but all signs point to the Governor keeping gatherings rather small until stage three of the plan, which could be anywhere from 1 to 3 months off.

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From these charts, Phase III will begin no sooner than June 29th, meaning that Weddings and other private/Public gatherings will likely be on hold, or reduced.

 


Rhode Island

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As Rhode Island’s ecomony is vastly intertwined with its tourism and private events, the Governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo, has been much more vocal about the specifics surrounding the State’s weddings and private gatherings. The latest information from the Governor has been when Raimondo said “no one should be planning a wedding with more than 50 attendants for June or July this year. Those looking to have a large wedding should make alternative plans, the governor said. She acknowledged the hardship the decision would cause not just for couples but for vendors and venues as well.” the source continued “In a best case scenario, August may see a lift on numbers allowed at gatherings from 50 to 100, but Raimondo stressed that she was making no promises.” (ABC) 

The good news is that Rhode Island is allowing these gatherings and giving instructions for the limitations to these events so that couples, planners, venues and vendors can plan accordingly. It is also a positive note to see the Governor set an example for all other New England states. The bad news is that many weddings and private gatherings have much larger guest lists than the restriction will allow, and couples will be looking to reschedule June, July and perhaps even August weddings throughout New England as a result.

Update: We have received word that the governor’s office of RI has announced that no gatherings of more than 5 will be permitted until the end of May.  (When the issue will be revisited). Barber shops and salons have also been delayed indefinitely in RI.

 


Connecticut

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Connecticut is considered widely by many to be a very difficult state to call. It being right next to New York is causing many to speculate that CT will be delaying its opening, but that has yet to be verified by the Governor’s office. The current restrictions in place mention that gatherings in NY, CT and NJ should all be limited to 5 or fewer. This means very little can be done until these restrictions are lifted. One source writes,  “Limiting social gatherings to five or fewer people to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 has slammed the brakes on Connecticut’s wedding and entertainment venues just as the industry was approaching its busy season. Banquet, corporate conference, meeting and wedding venue operators are scrambling to rebook gatherings that have been on the books for years.” (Hartford Business) 

 


Vermont

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Vermont is a state where precautions are being taken very seriously. Their current plans only allow for gatherings of 10 or less for private events and weddings. NBC writes, “Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says Vermonters will be able to enjoy more outdoor activities and small get-togethers as part of the state’s gradual reopening, but the state of emergency imposed in March to confront the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended.” (NBC) The state is strictly recommending that all incoming travelers and vacationers need to self quarantine for 14 days.

From the information we have gathered,

COVID-19 in Vermont

1. Weddings are not allowed until after May 15.
*Except if you are a COVID-19 First Responder or have an urgent reason. The Governor warned that this will be extended.

2. Gatherings are limited to 10 people.​

This includes the officiant, couple and anyone else at the ceremony.

3.  in-person business guidelines:

  • Anyone who is sick should not attend.

  • Everyone must wear a mask to cover their mouth and nose.

  • Social distancing of 6′ is required except for people living in the same household.

  • Business activity must have fresh air. Ideally performed outside.

 


Maine

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New England’s favorite vacation destination is considering a re-opening plan which varies from region to region. As Maine’s renown beaches and vacation destinations are in a much different situation than those inland, the State has put together a detailed plan for the opening of social gatherings and public spaces where people tend to gather such as beaches, bars and hotels. The ban on gatherings of more than ten will last until June 1 or beyond. On June 1, the State will begin to contemplate expanding the gathering size from 10 to 50. If all goes well, this issue will be revisited in July, with possible expansion from 50 to 100, and so on as the months go by.

Update: Maine is going to begin taking out of state hotel reservations beginning July 1st.

 


As a full service company, we are aiming to handle each of these territories and the special events held within them on a case by case basis. We intend to use our 10+ years of experience in the business as well as the knowledge we have gained thus far during the COVID19 Pandemic to aid and assist our beloved couples, clients and corporations in their pursuit of having the event of a lifetime.

In order to assuage these concerns during the Pandemic, Curry Events is taking the following precautions:

  1. Increased use of disinfectant on all commonly touched surfaces (Mics, tables, Etc) 
  2. Use of Masks and other protective equipment where social distancing is not an option
  3. Electronic request lists for both clients and their guests 
  4. Hand Sanitizer and Protective gear kits for all Entertainers, Photographers etc 
  5. Disinfectants for all Photo Booth props and equipment (a practice we already undertook for years prior) 
  6. Offering special pricing and discounts for all current and future weddings 
  7. Frequent hand washing, glove use and other sanitary procedures. 

To ask our team any questions or to learn more about how these ongoing regulations affect your event in particular, please use the contact form below for any and all needs!

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Works cited:

https://laconiamcweek.com/ 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/states-reopen-map-coronavirus.html

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/massachusetts-governor-orders-temporary-closure-non-essential-businesses-further

https://www.abc6.com/rhode-island-covid-19-cumulative-cases-surpasses-8000-12-new-deaths/

https://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/wedding-entertainment-venues-face-severe-covid-19-fallout

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/vermonts-cautious-reopening-golf-in-mass-todays-coronavirus-primer-for-new-england/2120216/

https://www.news10.com/news/local-news/weddings-postponed-amid-covid-19-outbreak-some-couples-rush-to-the-altar/

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/gov-mills-extends-statewide-stay-at-home-order-to-may-31/97-abe7d922-6c82-4b4a-8fb6-53e3613b97cd

https://whdh.com/news/maine-lets-out-of-state-visitors-book-rooms-beginning-july-1/

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-four-phase-approach

https://www.unionleader.com/news/health/coronavirus/outdoor-weddings-youth-sports-camps-take-a-step-towards-reopening/article_39a5b401-3dfd-5c03-b775-1e8991827d5f.html

One comment

  1. Love this and will be checking this regularly! Our wedding is in Massachusetts in October and have no idea what is going to happen!

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