The newest coronavirus restriction in Washington, D.C., seems to have been ripped straight from the plot of Footloose.
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week that indoor and outdoor weddings can now host up to 250 people, but social distancing restrictions still apply. That means “standing and dancing at receptions are not allowed,” according to the mayor’s office.
A spokeswoman for the mayor told a local news outlet that the dancing and standing ban is meant to be an “extra layer of safety” that prevents people from getting too frisky. If they start to dance, they might get too close to each other. They might even touch. Does the town of Bomont ring any bells?
Unfortunately for local couples, however, it’ll take more than a few rebellious teenagers to convince Bowser to change her mind. So, many Washington residents have decided to take their weddings elsewhere.
“This goes beyond just May weddings that are initially affected. All of our summer weddings, all of our fall weddings are also very concerned and asking what should we do: Do we keep moving forward with these or look to move to Virginia or Maryland where it’s a very safe bet they can have their ideal wedding there?” said Stephanie Sadowski, the owner of SRS Events.
Many of Sadowski’s couples have decided to relocate. Virginia has limits on how many people can attend weddings, but in mid-May, the state plans to increase the capacity to 100 people inside and 250 outside. In Maryland, outdoor and indoor venues can operate at half-capacity. In both states, dancing is allowed, and cocktail hours are a given.
Much of the wedding industry finds the district’s restrictions to be absurd, said Sadowski. Many of Washington’s couples have already had to delay, downsize, or change their plans because of the coronavirus pandemic. And even now that vaccines are available and positive cases continue to decrease, the city seems determined to prevent couples from having their dream weddings. It just doesn’t make sense, she said.
“I cannot even believe we’re in 2021 right now and we are saying no dancing,” Sadowski added. “Why can’t we just have masks? A lot of the country is reopening at this point, so to me, no dancing or standing at a reception seems like it’s a little bit more of stepping backwards instead of moving forward to more of that normalcy that we’re all looking forward to.”
But if you’ve seen Footloose, then you know how this should play out: Local newlyweds should start dancing anyway. Who’s going to stop them?