HONOLULU (KHON2) – Wedding industry workers gathered outside Honolulu Hale Thursday morning calling on Mayor Blangiardi to allow the industry to resume operations below Level 3.

Almost 50 wedding industry employees gathered on a rainy Thursday morning, holding signs and waving at passers-by.

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“We can work safely,” read some signs.

  • Courtesy: Kuldip Shergill, Crichton Uale, Taryn Magalianes
  • Courtesy: Kuldip Shergill, Crichton Uale, Taryn Magalianes
  • Courtesy: Kuldip Shergill, Crichton Uale, Taryn Magalianes

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced eased restrictions on restaurants, gyms and bars on Thursday March 11th. Weddings, a billion dollar industry for Hawaii prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, were not included in the decision.

Weddings are currently not allowed to have more than 10 people, but several wedding vendors and industrial workers say this is not enough.

“A lot of stores have now opened. I’m happy for you. I think what is frustrating for our industry is that we see a lot of parallels. Luaus and funerals can accommodate any number of people, but we can’t, ”said Crichton Uale, wedding DJ and MC.

“These are fathers and mothers, families trying to make ends meet, putting food on the table, doing their best to take care of the children. They’re all fighting each other, not just as a company but as families, ”added Kuldip Shergill, who also acts as the MC for weddings.

Hawaii’s wedding industry “decimated” with the closure of the pandemic

Mayor Blangiardi stepped out of his office to speak to several workers and hear their concerns.

“My heart goes out to the people in the wedding industry who have been affected by the pandemic and have affected their businesses,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “The feeling is that weddings are celebrations and social gatherings where people gather and mingle in close proximity, which can lead to the spread of the virus. I am not giving up on the subject, however, and I believe there could be a way for the wedding industry to operate safely. The industry also needs to know that it cannot hold rogue events with large numbers of people as it affects the chances of advancement. “

The mayor says the concern about allowing weddings is the social aspect.

“The mayor came right out and it was beautiful because he came out in the middle and everyone just surrounded him and it was just a dialogue. We felt heard. We hope that something will be done at this point at the end of the day, ”said Shergill.

Blangiardi said his government would continue talks with the state on the possibility of easing restrictions on the industry, but added that the community must do its part to prevent improper social gatherings. He said people should resume safe practices like wearing a mask, keeping their distance and washing hands.

“We don’t ask for weddings for 1000 people. We want to be able to carry out small events. We want to be able to get out of debt. We have been advocating reopening since March last year, saying: “We will keep our distance, we will have a distance of two meters, we will keep it at five per table, everyone will do temperature checks, but let’s do it, ‘” said Uale.

Meanwhile, the State Department of Health released its latest cluster report highlighting three social gatherings believed to be responsible for 31 positive COVID-19 cases on Oahu.

“It is troubling to hear about the clusters associated with social gatherings because it shows that people are becoming less vigilant and not taking the situation seriously enough,” said Mayor Blangiardi. “Ultimately, the state would have to approve any relaxation of restrictions or allowing wedding activities, but that’s less likely when there are gathering-related clusters.”

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