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‘Why are wedding restrictions still not relaxed’

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

ORGANISERS of the annual Bahamas Bridal Show are upset that COVID-19 restrictions on the wedding industry have not been relaxed, saying they have got no answers from the competent authority on the matter.

They say the wedding industry is currently operating at about 10 percent, lamenting it will take “at least three years” for businesses in the sector to recover.

Since March 2020, the wedding planning industry has been put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions that rule against large gatherings. Many couples have continuously postponed their weddings with the hope that there would be good news the next time Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis addresses the nation on COVID-19 matters.

Upset about restrictions not being lifted during a February 21 national address by Dr Minnis, the organisers, Tommy Stubbs and MaKeva Wallace, wrote a letter to his office pleading on behalf of those in the industry, but the letter went unanswered. The organisers resent the letter, but again said there was no response from Dr Minnis so the group issued a press statement addressing the matter.

An excerpt from the statement read: “The annual Bahamas Bridal Show has been the voice of hundreds of vendors in the wedding and bridal industry throughout The Bahamas for more than 30 years. While we don’t speak for every wedding and social event supplier in The Bahamas, we do sympathise with all and wish them well.

“Today, we don’t anticipate a response from the competent authority to this statement either. We are now exhausted from begging for leniency and consideration as we are continuously ignored throughout this pandemic.

“After the Prime Minister’s two most recent national addresses and remarks at the arrival of the first vaccine batch, we owed it to our business partners and brides and grooms to bring our concerns publicly for the final time.”

The organisers said at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, they understood the necessary protocol and supported most of the efforts. As a result, they postponed their annual showcase at Grand Hyatt Baha Resort with 52 vendors, to include some of the most prominent companies in The Bahamas. They believe they have held off long enough.

“Our government has shown little concern about our wedding and bridal industry by their actions or for many couples who are waiting to plan their weddings with more than 20 persons,” the statement continued. “Our government told the country that its goals were to stop the spread of the virus, to save lives and to prevent our health system from crashing.

“Then, the government asked us to be patient and wait for the vaccine. Other countries have had the vaccine for months. Looking at the case numbers and circumstances since last year, we believe the country met those goals since January. Persons who don’t know anything about our line of business will never understand the importance of our industry and the great losses endured since March 2020.”

The organisers noted that while people need to always be cautious about COVID and everything else that is deadly, they cannot continue to live in fear as livelihoods disappear with no compensation in sight.

The statement continued, “Protocol decisions have been unfair to us. We have not been given a fair fighting chance to save our businesses. No one in government seems interested in protecting the country’s vital and multi-million-dollar wedding and bridal industry. Attendees at weddings are at 20 since January 20, 2021. It was zero to 20 attendees, for the most part, since March 2020.

“This represents about 10 percent of business operations. Suppliers are trying to sell current inventory at bargain prices to settle bills and don’t know when they’ll be able to replace inventory as needed. Our struggling businesses are at flexi hours and days while staff (are) sharing days and work hours.

“Most of our wonderful, obedient vendors and engaged couples have lost their patience and confidence in government as it will take at least three years to recover, if ever, for most of (the) businesses in our industry. Our landlords and creditors have shown mercy and we thank them.”

The Bridal Show organisers are insulted that the Prime Minister would make reference to having Junkanoo soon “instead of focus on more important priorities,” to include a way for the wedding and bridal industry to resume safely.

“A government shouldn’t have so much power to restrict businesses for one full year while business owners face mounting expenses,” the statement said. “It has shown a total disregard for legitimate, hard-working business owners in our industry.

“Based on what has been granted to other businesses and industries, we simply want to know why we have not received permission to expand our operations to cater to those clients who wish to have more than 20 persons.”

Comments

Dawes 1 year, 4 months ago

Just have a political theme at the wedding and then you can have as many people as you want. To make it even more believable invite the Candidate for your area (PLP or FNM) and have some people wear red or yellow. Apparently Covid laws don't apply if you are canvassing so you are good to go.

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ohdrap4 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe the couples fell in economic hard times and postponed the party.

Many are actually relived to be able to marry with half a dozen close people.

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DWW 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe people should stop wasting silly amounts of hard cash on silly parties and instead put that $20,000 towards their first home like the old timers.

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xtreme2x 1 year, 4 months ago

maybe you should keep your thoughts to ya self. And let the couple live their lives as they see fit. It's their money, businesses have to survive to keep Bahamians employed. So you or your family can earn a check at the end of week/month.

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