In Sickness and In Health: COVID-19
Updated: Mar 14
Update 3/14/2020- all travel has been suspended from Europe, and that now includes England and Ireland. The ban will last 60 days. Health officials are also suggesting to prepare for up to two months of isolation (I'm praying for all you parents!).
Update 3/13/2020- PA is now up to 33 cases. This isn't a cause for alarm, but there is one incident that people should be aware of: an EMT in Upper Merion tested positive for the virus. 22 first responders in Upper Merion are currently in self-isolation. Please keep this in mind going forward.
Update 3/12/2020- PA and NJ both have asked that events over 250 attendees be cancelled. This is not a legally binding request, so check with your venue to see if they will carry on as planned. However, if the virus continues to spread at private events, expect that number of allowed attendees to shrink, or that they will enforce the limit legally.
Delaware hasn't begun lockdown procedures yet, but they have sent university students home. I expect they will quickly follow suit.
If you've been pulling a Sleeping Beauty since last November, you might've missed the news: there is a novel coronavirus strain that started out in China, and has now moseyed its way to the United States. It's a rather nasty bug, but we're coming short of the full zombie apocalypse. None of this below is meant to be medical advice. Also, this is not intended to be insensitive to those who have lost loved ones to this disease. I'm only trying to bring a little levity to a stressful situation.
But on to the question that's been on a lot of people's minds: will this affect my wedding?
TL;DR: Yes, unless your wedding is in the fall or afterward.
But hang on to your towels, y'all, it's going to be ok.
Unless your wedding is in the next month or so, you're likely only going to see a reduced guest count at your wedding, and some delayed RSVPs as your guests watch the situation. If your RSVP date is within the next month, consider giving them a little extra time before pinning them down (unless your caterer is requesting your counts, in which case, do what you need to).
The trouble is the ones coming up in the next month. COVID-19 has a fairly high transmission rate- about the same as the flu. People seem to be slowly getting the memo about washing their hands and not coughing on other people. However, the municipalities are urging people to reconsider having large groups of people together. Example A: a wedding.
So what to do about it?
Consider rescheduling: if your venue and vendors have flexible rescheduling policies, I'd consider this option. Most vendors will work with you on this, especially us individuals. I know most of the people (including myself) that will bend over backward to try and make your new date work, or find someone that can. I'm lucky enough to have a team of coordinators, but your photographer/DJ might not.
PLEASE NOTE: I have yet to find a wedding insurance plan that covers pandemics (the one I thought did, I was later informed did not). So if you're going to cancel, check your policy and try to find a reason that is not COVID-19.
Forge ahead: I completely understand going this route: you've likely been planning for over a year, and you're ready to get this thing done and party, right? A few recommendations if this is what you choose to do:
A) Take care of yourself: This might seem self-explanatory, but hear me out. Aside from hand-washing and not touching your face, consider social distancing to be your best friend. Work from home if you can. Order online. Avoid places with crowds. Make sure you're getting enough sleep. If you desperately need something for your wedding, ask your planner or a friend for help. No one wants the sniffles on their wedding day!
B) Check your venue: make sure they've got a good rating from officials on cleanliness. Consider doing your month-of walkthrough via teleconferencing. Actually, consider doing all of your vendor meetings by phone as well. Vendors are exposed to tons of people every weekend.
C) Check on anything coming from China. This can include, but is not limited to: your dress, shoes, jewelry, decor, or any physical product might be manufactured there.
What we know about the virus itself:
I'm lucky enough that I have a family member that's studying the virus. What's important to know is that the information that's coming out about the virus is fluid. It's new, it's tricky, and things are constantly changing. It has an incubation period of up to 5 days, which gives those infected plenty of time to Typhoid-Mary it up. It's miraculously sparing kids (mostly turning into sticky-fingered carriers), but it's hitting the elderly and immunosuppressed hard. If you're visiting that demographic, check your temperature before going. Just as you would with the flu, if you think you've been exposed, stay home.
And just because this video makes me laugh (and it's catchy as all get out, sorry):
At the end of the day, there's no predicting the future. We'll muddle through this together. Take care of yourselves, and I hope you have plenty of TP!