Banquet halls seek guidance as they work to plan events & weddings during a pandemic

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 18:10:56-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — You have heard the term “bridezilla.” It comes because emotions run high when weddings don’t go as planned.

Well, imagine working in the banquet industry right now. To say nothing is going right is an understatement. After all, nothing is happening.

Since the most recent executive order impacting restaurants and events came out, event organizers and brides are asking a question, and banquet halls say they don’t have the answer.

“We don’t know whether we fall under restaurant guidelines or event guidelines, or what,” said Kenny Konaszewski, the Event Coordinator at Prestige Hall in Allen Park.

Right now restaurants are allowed to open at 50% capacity. When people gather for food at a banquet hall are they attending a restaurant? Or are they attending specifically an event? Indoor events or social gatherings larger than ten people are banned, and outdoor events larger than 100 people are banned.

“We’ve gotten no guidance from the state or Wayne County Health Departments,” Konaszewski said.

“It is their most important time in their lives. Young brides and grooms, they are frustrated. We have one we have had to cancel twice,” said Joe Vicari, of the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group, which has banquet halls at its Andiamo locations.

Vicari said he has been unable to find clarification.

7 Action News asked the governor what the intent was of the executive order?

“There is a cap on gatherings, so that is what is applicable,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan).

That means no gatherings larger than ten indoors.

“People who run banquet halls can understand they are not a regular restaurant operation,” said Gov. Whitmer.

People in the banquet hall industry say they have been making changes to ensure social distancing is possible when they open. They are asking for as much information as possible as to what they can expect in different phases so they can prepare.