NJ event entertainers still suffering from COVID-19 restrictions
Since venues shut down to the public earlier this year, 125 events have already been rescheduled by Marlboro-based AJH Entertainment and Don't Miss a Beat Events.
Now it's late August, and founder Adam Hirschhorn feels he has about the same number of answers as he had back in March.
Indoor dining remains a no-no in New Jersey due to COVID-19, along with indoor wedding receptions, and gatherings must be capped at 25 people indoors. At events that are held outdoors, which permit up to 500 people, social distancing is a "must," according to the state.
"We can't even be booking right now because people don't want to make a commitment," Hirschhorn told New Jersey 101.5.
Hirschhorn doesn't believe routine New Jersey events, featuring 200+ guests, will occur before 2021. But folks in the industry are looking for some type of timeline from the state for a bump in indoor capacity limits, and/or a return to indoor dining in a limited fashion, so catering halls and other venues can hold events.
"That doesn't mean clients are going to want that, because there may be restrictions," he said. "We're just looking for a date and something to look forward to, and just getting the phone ringing again."
Indoor gatherings in New Jersey must be limited to 25 people or 25% of a room's capacity. All attendees must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart.
And as we move closer to autumn, interest in outdoor gatherings and entertainment is likely to dwindle, entertainers say.
"People are able to go to water parks and walk around the mall, but they still can't celebrate with their loved ones within a controlled environment," said Anthony Gerardi, president of the New York/New Jersey Live Events Coalition. "What's scaring us is there's no conversation."
The coalition, which is focused on the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the industry, submitted a 22-page document to Gov. Phil Murphy on how to run an event safely in the face of a public health crisis, Gerardi said.
"We have not heard back from them at all," Gerardi said.
According to Darryl Isherwood, a spokesman for the Governor's Office, staff has been "in regular communication" with the coalition throughout the past several months.
"While we understand that businesses continue to face challenges due to the pandemic, there is no truth to the idea that there has been a lack of responsiveness by the administration," Isherwood said.
Because the state is not allowing many events to take place, Gerardi said, "rogue events" are happening "every day of the week."
"So instead of having people attend parties in a safe setting, they're attending parties with no control and no safety guidelines," he said.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.