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Alberta’s events industry hits its limit with COVID-19 restrictions

Last Updated Oct 29, 2020 at 8:25 am MST

CALGARY (CityNews) – It’s another blow to the event industry that struggling to stay afloat as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the province.

With social gatherings limited to 15 people in Alberta’s major cities, one wedding planner is packing it in until 2022, saying it’s just too much to handle.

“The thing is it’s just as much effort to plan 300 as it is 50. Now, we’re dealing with smaller budgets with higher costs.”

Laureen Cauryn-Cameron is a wedding and event planner with Brilliant Events and Celebrations in Calgary. In the pandemic, she’s managed to make one wedding a reality.

With the limit to social gatherings constantly changing, she is taking a break from wedding planning saying it’s a lot of work only to set people up for disappointment.

“At a certain point, you can only spread yourself so thin and replan the same wedding over and over again.”

Alberta’s top doctor announced a 15 person limit on social and family gatherings for Calgary and Edmonton on Monday.

“This limit applies to mixing and mingling gatherings such as birthday parties, social events and wedding and funeral receptions,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

However, the Alberta Live Events Coalition said there’s a lot of inconsistencies with the new restrictions.

“They’re saying a reception is 15 people,” said founder Lesley Plumely. “In that 15 you can have cocktail hour and dancing.”

The advocacy group said if you just have the dinner portion, follow physical distancing, and wear masks, it should still be 50 people.

“It’s no different than a restaurant,” said Plumely

The group said over 11,000 events have been postponed or cancelled since the start of COVID-19, resulting in a loss of nearly $200 million.

“It has taken a financial toll and a mental health toll in everyone in our industry,” said Plumely.

This temporary limit is expected to be reassessed at the end of November.

For Cauryn-Cameron it’s a waiting game and when the time comes for the wedding and event industry she said it will be bigger and better.

“I love seeing people hugging, happy, sharing those moments. I miss it.”