Leaders in Vermont’s wedding industry say they get calls almost daily that yet another wedding or catered event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The big question is, ‘How do we bridge the gap to get to the spring of 2021 when things are flowing again?'” said Lon Finkelstein, owner of Vermont Tent Company.
What makes this sector unique is although they’re making little to no income in 2020, next year is already guaranteed to be booming with business.
“At Vermont Tent in particular we have almost $2 million in contracted business for 2021,” said Mike Lubas, owner of Vermont Tent. “Compared to this time last year, we had $500,000.”
Monday morning, Congressman Peter Welch sat down virtually with several dozen event planners, Venue owners, DJ’s, photographers, and other professionals to talk about allocating federal relief funds.
“Getting the help doesn’t matter if the design of the program doesn’t work for the particulars of your industry,” Rep. Peter Welch said. “We can have the biggest number in the world, but if it doesn’t get to you, it doesn’t help you”
Many in the industry are pushing for an extension of the $600 unemployment checks because many of their workers are self-employed or independently contracted and don’t qualify for traditional unemployment.
“Lighting companies, DJs, or other technical based companies, there are employees that are highly trained that we can’t afford to lose because there’s no way that we can find them again,” Lindsey Leichthammer, Vermont association of wedding professionals president.
Businesses add that their employees depend on the May to October season to carry them through the rest of the year.