Weddings & Events During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

15 March 2020
wedding covid-19 corona virus

On Wednesday, March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic and heightened the concerns of our team, our clients and their event guests about the impact it could have on upcoming events. As the owner of Amplify, I wanted to personally post the actions we are taking. This post is the result of our DJ team coming together and sharing our thoughts, ideas and collective research surrounding coronavirus. I hope you’ll find it transparent and conversational, yet comprehensive and thorough.

I want to first acknowledge the anxiety and uncertainty that surrounds a moment as unique as what we’re experiencing right now. In addition to concerns surrounding the virus itself, the thought of COVID-19 affecting a couple’s wedding plans, a son’s bar mitzvah celebration or a daughter’s quinceañera is distressing. We understand that these are important, once-in-lifetime events and that any threat to them — whether it’s a natural disaster like we previously experienced with Hurricane Michael or a pandemic like COVID-19 — can lead to compounded stress and sleepless nights. My message to our clients who are reading this: We’re here for you and we’re still committed to your event! UPDATE: Counties in some of our service areas have enacted mandatory stay-at-home orders and night curfews, along with fines and criminal charges for violations related to gatherings of more than 10 people. Amplify will not be able to participate in events that break any laws or represent a violation of these official orders, and I would strongly recommend that our clients postpone any events scheduled to take place during the timeframe of any order in the county of your wedding or event.

So on that note, let’s first get a few important facts out of the way:

  • This situation continues to evolve, so our policies, actions and stances will likely evolve as well. Things could level off/flatten and otherwise get better quickly or they could grow worse and prompt more drastic measures and updates.
  • At Amplify, we’re not the experts on the coronavirus, so we’ll need to rely on the experts. We promise to seek out reliable sources of information and not act on rumors or hearsay, whether positive or negative.
  • Both our company and our clients are incentivized toward the best news surrounding coronavirus. For our company and our DJs, this is our livelihood, and postponed/cancelled events can have a deep impact on our personal lives economically. For our clients, we understand that no one wants to cancel her/his wedding day or other important event, and that there is both a financial and emotional impact in doing so. In short, our company and our clients both really, really want the same thing to happen and that is for the wedding/event to go on as planned. And that’s still the plan! But while it’s painful for both parties, we should also acknowledge that despite our aligned hopes and dreams, there could be valid reasons to have to change plans. So, let’s go there next.

Our Policy on Postponements and Cancellations

  • On Amplify’s end: First and foremost, if any member of our team is tested positive for coronavirus, they will follow the quarantine guidelines established and will not be a part of your scheduled event. For years, Amplify has built strong contingency plans for the primary service that we provide: the DJ/MC. Our DJs have caught the flu, experienced family emergencies and, in one instance, even been involved in a serious car accident. In each instance, we still had a back-up ready to go and each event was still a success. Our back-up options for the add-on/secondary services we offer, like dance floor installers and live musicians, aren’t quite as deep, so in a perfect storm scenario that a novel virus like this could potentially create, adjustments may need to be made, but we’ll also be prompt and transparent when these come up. Again, we are still committed to your event and will make any adjustments needed to address any potential shortfalls caused by our team being affected by the virus.
  • On our client’s end: If you need to postpone your wedding or event due to the coronavirus, we will respect your decision and help you reschedule your event for a post-coronavirus date. We’ll also allow you to apply 100% of any payments you’ve made toward your new date. We would need to approve to the new date to make sure it’s not a date we’re already fully booked (certain Saturdays in Oct/Nov/Dec, for example), but we’re happy to communicate back and forth to make sure it’s a date that both works for you and is available for us. We can’t guarantee your same assigned DJ for your new date, but we’ll try our best to keep the same one. If, rather than postponing your event, it is outright cancelled or you choose a new date we’re unavailable, deposits will still be non-refundable as usual, but no further payments will be required and any payments that have been made beyond the deposit will be refunded. The most common recommended dates we’re seeing are June and later. Dates in July, August and September look great because they are far beyond where we are now and yet not getting into the already heavily booked fall dates where some Saturdays are fully booked. Late summer dates (any day of the week) or fall Fridays are most likely your best bet based on what we’re seeing.

Let’s talk next about the guidelines we’ve created for our our team, our clients, and our clients’ guests.

For Our Team

Why are we publicly posting the actions we’re taking internally? Because 1) we love transparency and 2) we believe these things are all connected. So on that note, we’ll be implementing the following to keep our team safe and healthy so they can rock your event:

  • Commit to officially recommended quarantine practices should any member of our team be tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Close the physical Amplify office and move all currently scheduled meetings from in-person to by phone or FaceTime until further notice.
  • Develop a temporary logistical plan that allows each DJ to keep the same audio and lighting equipment week-to-week rather than picking up and dropping off different equipment each week.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water as often as possible at events and, if available (currently out of stock), keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at our tables.
  • Wipe down equipment between each use with a disinfecting wipe.
  • Purchase a bottle of mic sanitizer for each DJ to use after each third-party use of a microphone (think wedding officiant, toasts, etc.).
  • Limit microphone use to absolutely essential needs. DJs should not share their microphones with guests of an event.
  • Try our best to practice good nutrition, exercise and hygiene. While none of these things will likely prevent the virus, it may make the effects less-than-otherwise severe since they can affect our immune system in general and have been shown to influence the susceptibility to and response to viral infection, in general.
  • Set up a dedicated live chat channel so that each of our DJs can do the following: 1) share his/her own status; 2) share thoughts and ideas related to this post; 3) help each other solve challenges as they come up in a live setting.

For Our Clients

What are some things our clients can do?

  • We encourage you to adopt loving messaging about the sick and elderly not attending your wedding.
  • Possibly reconsider your existing layout to accommodate the recommended three-feet social distancing for large events. Circular tables would likely better accommodate this compared to rectangular ones.
  • Expect a lower guest count than you were originally anticipating. While we’ve seen only a very small number of guest drop-off so far, we expect that could change as new information is released. Also, be understanding of those who leave before dancing starts because they feel uncomfortable dancing close on the dance floor with others.
  • If your venue adopts a clause that your event can only happen if you have “less than x number of guests,” consider sending a group message to guests who are not immediate family and wedding party members asking for volunteers to graciously bow out.

For Our Clients’ Event Guests

While it’s less likely that this audience will read this post, we’ve created some recommendations and notes for guests of our clients’ events. At our clients’ request, we’re happy to announce these at the start of the event to keep it clean and virus-free!
  • Let’s remember to regularly wash our hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Please don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want to shake your hand. In fact, rather than shake hands at this event, we can all just go ahead and agree to elbow bump or virtual high-five. It may still seem silly for one person to ask for it, so we’re announcing it to everyone so that no one feels awkward doing it.
  • If you have a fever or cough or otherwise feel sick, please go ahead and head home. No one will be offended that you have to leave early and it’s better to be safe. When in doubt, head out.

And that covers it! Do you think we’ve made a mistake in any of these points? Do you have an idea or suggestion? As I mentioned, we’re not experts and I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t have all of the answers. So I’ve set up a dedicated email address to receive your thoughts, ideas, praise, or criticism. You can reach my dedicated COVID-19 inbox at covid19 [at] amplifymyevent [dot] com (obscured so bots don’t overrun it). I want this to be a living, breathing post so I’ll update it, if needed.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to our clients who are dealing with this and to those who have already been affected by coronavirus. We’re going to get through this together!

Sincerely,

Nate Long
Chief Entertainment Officer
Amplify Entertainment

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