Published: Friday, Oct. 1st, 2021
Wedding professionals in Hawaii met with Gov. David Ige this week to ask for an updated timeline for increasing the size of weddings, saying the current restrictions hurt business and lead to dangerous rogue weddings.
Currently, weddings in Hawaii are treated as social gatherings under the state’s public health emergency rules, which were reinstated in late August. Social gatherings have stricter limits on group size than do commercial events and indoor businesses, and limit weddings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, including wedding vendors, while businesses are allowed to operate at up to 50% capacity. (Counties may have their own additional restrictions, for example Maui County’s social gatherings are limited to 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.)
Wedding officiants and other vendors say that treating weddings as social gatherings, not professional events, discounts the professional services they provide and is damaging their businesses.
And they claim limits like these actually lead to an increase in dangerous ‘rogue weddings,’ which people throw illegally in private to get around the rules.
Rogue weddings, they say, are larger and take fewer precautions than professionally supervised weddings would, putting more people at risk. One such wedding on Oahu in August led to a cluster outbreak of 17 documented COVID-19 cases and one death.
For now, Gov. Ige will keep the current restrictions in place, but asked the vendors for a mitigation strategy proposal to review.
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