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The Slow, Safe Comeback

Events halted in March with the onset of COVID-19. Months later, planners are finally beginning to look at safely easing back in to scheduling.

This summer was supposed to be full of exciting events like weddings and the Common Ground Music Festival. Yet COVID-19 halted nearly all events throughout the 517 region. Event planners and venues are finally beginning to look at safely executing events again as restrictions in Michigan continue to ease.

“The event restrictions have caused every event we had on our calendar from March through July, so far, to either cancel or postpone,” All Grand Events+Floral owner Emily Dawson said.

Both All Grand Events+Floral and the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority said about 30% of events have canceled and 70% postponed to either fall or next year. These numbers are lower than the national average, LEPFA President and CEO Scott Keith said.

“We are continuing to work with those groups to rebook without penalty if they stay within a calendar year. They’re all being understanding about it — they want their events to happen” Keith said. Dawson and Keith see frequent cleaning, reduced attendance and social distancing as a normalcy in the events world until guests start to feel more comfortable.

“I think COVID-19 will affect events for the foreseeable future while there is a viable medical threat and restrictions on guest counts at events,” Dawson said.  “Once large gatherings are allowed to take place again, many people will likely still feel uncomfortable attending an event in relatively close quarters.”

“We’re getting creative again with events. … It’ll (COVID-19) just charge people to be smarter about safety,” Keith said in April.

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