Updated 6/15/21: It's a great day for couples who are planning weddings! With more than 70% of adult New Yorkers now vaccinated against COVID, most of New York State's social gathering restrictions have been eliminated! However, some restrictions still continue, and venues retain the right to require stricter standards. Here's what you need to know if you're planning a wedding for summer or fall 2021.
Note: This post was originally published in late February and has been updated as regulations change. I'll continue to update this post ASAP when any changes are announced.
Vax Rate Hits 70%: Most Restrictions End
[Updated 6/15/21] Following through on a promise made last week, Governor Cuomo announced today that most COVID-related restrictions are lifted. For many businesses including wedding reception venues, this means:
- Face-coverings are no longer required for vaccinated individuals.
- Guests are no longer required to present proof of vaccination or negative testing to enter the venue.
- Venues are no longer required to gather everybody's contact information for potential tracing.
- Reduced capacity limits are history -- if your venue is OK with it, you can increase your guest count to 100% of the venue's capacity!
- Social distancing is history -- no need to space your tables 6 feet apart, no need to worry about who's dancing with whom, and no need to leave 12 feet of open space around your DJ or band!
Current COVID-19 Wedding Restrictions in New York State
Although today's news takes a lot of pressure off couples and wedding service providers, some restrictions will continue.
In accordance with CDC guidance, New York State says unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering. But... since venues are no longer required to ask guests for proof of vaccination at the door, it seems this requirement is going to wind up relying largely on the "honor system."
It's also worth noting that today's announcement from the State merely says that all of the previous restrictions are now optional. Any business can choose to voluntary continue any of the previous guidelines. For example, a venue could choose to uphold the mask-wearing requirement out of an abundance of caution. Realistically, I doubt any venues will do that, but it still wouldn't hurt to touch base with your venue to confirm their policies before you send out your invites or any other types of updates to your guest list.
NYS Travel Advisory
If you have guests traveling to your wedding from destinations outside of New York State:
- No special action is needed if they are coming from a contiguous state (PA, NJ, CT, MA, VT).
- If they are coming from any other state, they must complete a Traveler Health Form.
- International travelers should review New York's current travel advisory for international travel.
Let's get the party started!
This is one time where I was happy to trash hours of previous blogging and replace it with a much shorter post! With my first scheduled 2021 wedding still nearly a month away, the removal of the restrictions still feels a bit surreal, but I'm very excited that we're finally "back to normal" after so many months wondering when this would happen, and not knowing what "normal" would actually look like.