Originally Published: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 8:52pm
Can we address the elephant in the room? The Contagious Wedding Crasher: COVID-19 Coronovirus Pandemic
If you are like me, your email inbox has been flooded with communications from companies detailing their responses to the Coronavirus disease.
Before I share with you what we are doing at Jason Kaczorowski Photography, please allow me to take a moment to share with you an optimistic thought: Throughout history, society has always risen to meet whatever challenges life has thrown our way and we have always emerged stronger in the end.
Remember: Be mindful. Be positive. Be kind. Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in other people.
I know that many of you may be feeling very uncertain about how this will play out in the coming months and worried about how this may affect your wedding plans. I am with you and I fully understand. It’s hard to know how this is going to play out and how long it is going to last.
First and foremost, I want to assure you that as your wedding photographers, my team and I care very deeply about the health of you and your loved ones. We are taking every precaution we can to keep ourselves healthy for your wedding day.
With schools shutting down, concerts and festivals cancelling, some states starting to ban large gatherings, college basketball, the NBA, MLB and NFL suspending or rescheduling their seasons, and travel being discouraged throughout the country, we understand that some of you may choose to postpone your wedding day to a later date when you wouldn’t need to worry about you or your guests’ health and travel plans.
IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING POSTPONING YOUR WEDDING
I understand the financial burden of rescheduling a wedding day – particularly if your wedding is within the next couple months. Because of this, I am expanding my rescheduling policy to make it more flexible during this pandemic and help ease stress related to this for all of our clients.
If you choose to reschedule because of COVID-19, please let us know as soon as possible so we can provide you with a list of available dates in 2020 and 2021. We have limited Saturday 2020 availability however Fridays, Sundays and Weekdays are often available, in addition to added availability in 2021, so please do not worry about losing us as your photographers.
Furthermore, any amount paid towards your wedding photography will be applied to your rescheduled date, so long as the event is rescheduled to take place on or before December 31, 2021, and you will not incur any rescheduling fees or lose payments you have already made.
My goal is to help make postponing your wedding day as easy and stress-free as possible for you if this is the route you choose to take.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO POSTPONE YOUR WEDDING
While I urge all of my clients to follow the advice of your state and county regarding large gatherings during the time of your event, I understand that some events may not be possible to cancel.
In this situation, if the virus is still spreading throughout the community during the time of your wedding, I will take precautions in order to protect myself, as well as you, your guests, and the guests of weddings planned for the weekends ahead of your date.
PRECAUTIONS WE PLAN TO TAKE
• Our team will wear protective masks throughout the day of your wedding. Because of the nature of COVID-19, we want to protect you and your guests on the off chance that I or a member of my team could be carrying the virus while asymptomatic at your event.
• We will be sanitizing our equipment throughout the day, as well as taking frequent breaks to wash our hands in between your timeline of events.
• During the dancing portion of your reception, we will be photographing from the perimeter of your dance floor, utilizing a longer focal length to compensate, in order to keep a safe distance from people who may be coughing, sneezing, and/or sweating.
• If I or a member of my team becomes ill and/or we are forced to quarantine ourselves, I will allocate an equally amazing photographer to capture your day during any unexpected absence. Jason Kaczorowski Photography is fortunate to have multiple incredibly talented, healthy photographers (Alex, Madi, Stephanie) on staff should the need arise to quarantine oneself from your event.
Naturally, we also kindly ask that you request for any guests who are feeling ill or may have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home.
I am optimistic that we will begin offering Engagement Sessions starting Friday, May 1st, 2020. However, we will be limiting location options to avoid heavily trafficked locations in order to reduce our risk of being exposed to the virus. We respect and will abide by city and state mandates.
Here’s a few common questions regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus that may help steer your decision regarding your event.
The facts presented have been verified as of Friday, March 13, 2020.
1. ISN’T THE CORONAVIRUS JUST LIKE THE FLU?
No. Unfortunately it is not like the flu.
It does share symptoms with the flu, the common cold, and seasonal allergies, which is why many aren’t taking it as seriously as they should.
Again, don’t panic, but do take responsible precautions, both for yourself, your family and friends.
2. WHY ARE BIG EVENTS BEING CANCELED?
The current infection rate for COVID-19 is 2-3, meaning if someone catches it, they are likely to spread it to 2-3 people, who then spread it to 2-3 other people, and so on. The growth is exponential: seemingly slow and then seemingly all at once.
During the past 2 weeks, the number of deaths has more than doubled to over 5,600 and there is currently (as of 3/14/2020) 150,000 cases worldwide.
(UPDATE: Friday, April 3, 2020 – Only three weeks since last being reported, there are now 1,093,107 cases worldwide and the number of deaths is now 58,729 as of 4/3/2020).
Experts are now predicting that between 160 million and 214 million people in the United States could be infected over the course of the epidemic.
That could last for months – or even over a year – with infections concentrated in shorter periods, staggered across time in different communities.
Anywhere from 200,000 to 1.7 million people may die if the virus isn’t contained.
Because big events give space for the illness to spread to far more than 2-3 people much more quickly, isolation and quarantine are a way to “flatten the curve.”
In the US, several states have issued bans on gatherings of more than 250 people through the end of March.
(UPDATE: Monday, March 16, 2020 – During his daily COVID-19 update on Monday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker manded that social gatherings over 50 people be canceled. The mandate will be enforced for the next 8 weeks based on the CDC guidelines. This is a significant updated the Governor’s previous mandate made last Thursday, which mandated that all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be canceled for the next 30 days.)
(UPDATE: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 – Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker extends “stay-at-home” order until April 30, 2020)
(UPDATE: Friday, April 3, 2020 – Illinois officials reported 8,904 cases of COVID-19 and 210 deaths)
3. I’M HEALTHY AND MY GUESTS ARE HEALTHY,… WHY SHOULD WE FOLLOW THESE GUIDELINES?
You may be healthy, which means if you catch it, you will be sick for a few weeks, but ultimately will likely recover. If the 2-3 or more people you spread it are older or may have compromised immune systems, they will likely not be fine and their chances of not recovering is much greater.
Not everyone has the luxury of normal good health. Immunocompromised people include cancer patients and survivors, the elderly, people with Asthma, Diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other “invisible” diseases you can’t necessarily see because they look healthy, etc.
We live in a society and need to look out for one another.
4. WHAT CAN I DO TO COPE WITH THE SITUATION?
Realize and embrace that your guest list may be compromised.
From family and friends perhaps affected by the travel ban to immunocompromised guests, you will likely have to understand and accept that some guests may be unable to attend your wedding.
It’s alright to feel sad and even mad about this. The best thing to do is to tell those who may be missing your event that you love them, you understand and you wish for them to remain healthy.
Based on the date of your wedding, some guests may wish to not attend to slow the spread of the virus.
For those guests unable to attend your event, consider hosting a live stream or Facetime your ceremony for elderly relatives unable to leave nursing homes.
Create a personalized webpage or Facebook Group for your wedding and invite friends and family to share photos.
Consider personalized favors such as Hand Sanitizer packages for your guests. These can be found for as little as $0.85.
Speaking of hand sanitizer, “Sanitation Stations” will be all the rage in 2020! Consider placing hand sanitizer by your guest book and near table cards at the entrance to your reception.
And since we’re on the topic of germs, perhaps ask your venue if they can prop restroom doors so guests don’t need to use handles or place trash cans by exits so guests can dispose of towels used to open doors.
Finally, heed the advice of your wedding vendors. For example, if your caterer advises against those delicious passed hors d’oeuvres you sampled during your tasting, trust them.
5. WHICH SOURCES SHOULD I BE PAYING ATTENTION TO SO I CAN FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COMING DAYS AND WEEKS AS COVID-19 EVOLVES?
Here is some recommended reading from experts in their field
If you have any questions or concerns at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I want to have an open discussion about this with you! I am ready to help in whatever way I can.
Principle Memory Purveyor and Chief Experience Creator
Jason Kaczorowski Photography