As part of Phase Four reopening, Governor Cuomo allowed social gatherings of up to 50 people, though weddings are not specifically outlined. Since Phase Four began, Georgiou Graham says she’s hosted at least four weddings under the restrictions, but some parties have either postponed or cut back on their guest lists. Typically, she says the fall is the busiest time for weddings, which does buy her and her clients some time, but the unpredictability of both the virus and reopening guidelines has her and other venues concerned for the long-term.
“If things don’t change soon it could be very detrimental to the industry locally,” she says.
Recently, she’s connected with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren and Congressman Joe Morelle among others. While she praises the assistance both leaders gave, she feels the message is falling on deaf ears in Albany.
“I have a family too that I have to provide for, my staff does, I have all these couples that are counting on me, and I can’t give them any updates because I don’t know anything,” says Graham.
News10NBC reached out to Kevin Samolis, the Vice President of SKY Armory in Syracuse, he’s among the venues joining in the planned litigation, he told us an update should be coming from his attorney “soon.”
News10NBC also reached out to the governor’s office for comment, but had not heard back at the time this article was published.
While specifics of the lawsuit have not been shared, Georgiou Graham says at its core the goal is to allow venues to be treated like restaurants when it comes to capacity. Right now, restaurants and bars are allowed to operate at 50 percent per the state’s outdoor dining guidelines.
Georgiou Graham argues larger venues like hers can sit people comfortably- and spaced out, that’s in addition to the safety protocols already in place.
In the meantime, she says Arbor Venues will be preparing for its upcoming weddings with hopes of change on the horizon.
“This is a touchy subject for everybody, I think the pandemic is still very big concern in our area, and we have to continue to be safe,” she says. “I think it’s just a matter of [if] I feel like the governor just has to take the time to listen and allow us to explain that we can abide by the guidelines perfectly. “