New York State is allowing weddings of up to 150 people to resume this month, despite NYC’s four percent positivity rate.

But with anything these days, there are a plethora of health and safety protocols that the state is requiring if these events do go on—and they’re so restrictive that it seems absurd to even have a wedding reception.

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What are these new rules?

Starting March 15, all attendees of weddings or catered events must have proof of a negative PCR within 72 hours of the event OR proof of a negative rapid test within six hours of the event. Venue employees and staff have to be tested on a bi-weekly basis but anyone who has received both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days prior to the event are not included in the testing rules. Venues may still require negative tests, however.

What happens when you get there?

You have to wear a mask at all times unless sitting, eating or drinking at your assigned table and social distance at least six feet from people who are not in their immediate party, household or family. Tables will need to be at least six feet apart, too. 

Cocktail hours are allowed but you won’t be able to eat or drink with people who are not in your immediate party, household or family.

Live music performers have to be separated from guests, especially if playing a wind instrument by at least 12 feet or a physical barrier.

And you can only dance with people in your immediate party, household or family that’s seated at your table — and only in clearly marked “dance zones,” which will be at least six feet apart from other dancing zones. Each dance zone should be no less than 36 square feet and dancers from one zone are not allowed to visit other dancing zones—so forget the “Electric Slide.”

You can read more about the rules here. 

This isn’t the dream wedding so many people are hoping for. The best part of going to a wedding, the reception, will be a shell of itself with so few people spread out and unable to mingle with each other. It’s the bare minimum in an attempt to keep these parties from being super spreader events like the 90-person wedding that took place on Long Island that ended up infecting 56 people.

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state’s recovery has to be both about public health and the economy, so the goal is to open the economy while being safe.

“Thanks to the hard work and commitment of all New Yorkers, our infection rate is now the lowest we’ve seen in three months, and accordingly we will now be reopening various recreational activities across the state including billiard halls, weddings and movie theaters in New York City,” he said. “As our infection rate continues to fall, and the vaccination rate continues to climb, we will keep reopening different sectors of our state’s economy and focus our efforts on building our state back better than it was before.”

We have a lot of questions about the new rules, though, like how would these be enforced? What does 36 square feet even look like? And would it even be worth it to have a wedding reception if people can’t dance or catch up with others outside of their families/immediate circles?

It just seems like a lot of risk and headache for a small slice of joy.

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