Oahu vendors frustrated over wedding restrictions

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Weddings were a billion-dollar industry for Hawaii prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lack of guidelines has left brides like Sheryl Fukuda with no choice but to postpone their weddings.

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Fukuda said, her wedding has already been postponed multiple times.

“It was really hard at first,” Fukuda said. “I think we postponed two or three times already.”

Postponements have made it tougher for vendors like photographer Kolby Moser of ARIA Studios to pay the bills.

“So for it to just disappear overnight has been so difficult,” Moser said.

Moser was hoping the gathering limit would be increased.

“Even just a little bit more than the 10 would be amazing,” Moser said. “We were thinking that it would go to 25, along with other things.”

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced loosened restrictions for restaurants, gyms and restaurants on Thursday, March 11. Even bars are allowed to reopen while the rules for weddings will stay the same.

“We weren’t allowed to have weddings approved,” Mayor Blangiardi said. “Now people can still get married. You still observe that and we ask that people keep those gatherings to a place of 10.”

The mayor said it is ultimately up to the governor and the Department of Health.

“Funerals are not scheduled events. People are dying and we want to be able to go about life with the right away of treating that experience,” the mayor said. “Weddings on the other hand, are celebratory and a lot of other things that right now are just a bridge too far.”

Local wedding vendors said that decision it is not fair.

“There isn’t anything that we do that is different from what’s open already,” said wedding planner Sandra Williams.

“People are still doing it, but hiding and because they’re doing it illegally. They are not following any sort of protocol.” Moser added.

Fukuda is just hoping she can have her wedding safely — and soon.

“The State should set some kind of guidelines and regulations on having smaller events like weddings, so we can celebrate in a safe way,” Fukuda said.

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