Photo by Marcos Valdes
The wedding industry sees the revival of wedding ceremonies as a ray of hope for the economy. On July 22, the city council approved the reactivation of weddings, but with restrictions. One is that initially weddings will have a maximum capacity of 60 people, including staff. Organizers and workers must disinfect the venues, and all suppliers and workers must have the administration’s Health First certificate.
San Miguel de Allende has been opening gradually. Phase Zero allowed some small businesses to open. The intermediate phase gave approval to open hotels at 40 percent occupancy. Now, by jumping phases, the administration has authorized reactivating the wedding industry, starting on August 27. Among the guidelines is the requirement that all staff must have personal protective equipment: face masks, gloves, and face shields. Cutlery and any material used on the tables must be disinfected before use. Table decorations are to be kept to a minimum, and ashtrays, saltshakers, and napkin rings are discouraged.
The general guidelines also mandate that tables must be placed with a minimum two-meter distance between them. For events with the permitted maximum capacity of 60 people, all table spaces may be occupied. Menus must be disposable, and buffet-style services will not be allowed.
The facilities must be cleaned and disinfected with chlorinated solutions, especially the areas that have the most contact or flow of people. Some specific guidelines about disinfection include: “Tables and chairs, prior to the start of the event. Bathrooms, every hour. All the utensils, amenities, decorations, etc., prior to the event. In food preparation and serving areas: clean and disinfect preparation lines, carts, conveyors, and kitchen utensils. Cleaning cloths must go through a disinfection process every time they are used.”
No callejoneadas, no dance floors
We spoke to Guadalupe Álvarez of Penzi Weddings, the biggest wedding organizer in San Miguel. She said that the gradual reopening represents hope not only for Penzi and its staff, but for the entire industry.
Álvarez indicated that the protocols were prepared by the San Miguel Wedding and Venue Organization, the local government, and the health authorities, with the wellbeing of the people of San Miguel in mind. She appreciates the work of Laura Torres (president of the Tourist Council); Francisco Garay (director of Economic Development), and the health institutions. She regrets that for now callejoneadas (a parade in which the wedding party wanders through cobblestoned streets) are suspended, and dance floors are not allowed at the events.
“The weddings will be small, and we are still waiting for the reopening of Civil Registry and the churches. My staff, whose income has been reduced, will alternate working events. In our favor is that we are the first city in the state to reactivate this industry.” Regarding how the organization has changed in the face of the current situation, Álvarez said, “Many couples will get married on their originally chosen date where they live and will postpone the large gathering in San Miguel to next year. Others who were going to get married here alongside their families will still do that. Some couples have canceled the ceremony; others have broken up. But in general, many couples understand that their life begins with their wedding, and that it is not just a party. It has been difficult to be supportive and encouraging. The couples had a date, an image, a honeymoon, plans to move to a new city. They have also lost money for plane tickets, vacations, etc.”
On a final note, Álvarez said that she appreciated that the private sector, the government, and health organizations are working together.