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Under gathering rules, weddings are treated the same as BBQs. Planners say they shouldn’t be.

Organizers are calling on the government to give the OK for professionally-planned weddings.
Organizers are calling on the government to give the OK for professionally-planned weddings.(Hawaii News Now)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 3:06 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 3:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Event organizers are pleading with government leaders to allow weddings again, saying they can be held safely with the right protocols in place.

Members of the Oahu Wedding Association rallied outside Honolulu Hale and the State Capitol on Thursday, holding signs that read “I DO weddings safely.”

Their message: Professionally-planned weddings should not be placed under the same restrictions as unpermitted social gatherings.

Under rules recently extended through Oct. 19, all gatherings on Oahu are limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said the restrictions needed to be kept in place because while daily COVID case counts have declined, hospitalizations still remain too high.

But in meeting with demonstrators Thursday, Blangiardi said he hopes to get weddings and funerals “back on track” soon.

Weddings are not just large gatherings - they are structured events run by professionals. If managed propery, with a...

Posted by Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Thursday, September 23, 2021

He added he will be working with the Department of Health to make it happen.

Joseph Esser, of the Oahu Wedding Association, said government leaders should make a distinction between professionally-organized events and unpermitted social gatherings. He also said organizers support restrictions on the events, including requiring attendees be vaccinated or tested.

“The unfortunate thing that’s happening right now is there’s all these rogue events happening on the island and they’re not run by professionals,” he said.

“It’s really frustrating when we’re lumped in the same category of social gatherings. When you think of the difference of a professionally-managed event and a backdoor BBQ, it’s night and day.”

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