After almost a year of cancelations due to the pandemic, many Connecticut event venues are facing a good problem because people now want to book again.
This week, Governor Ned Lamont announced event capacity limits can increase beginning in late March.
Indoor event capacity can increase from 25 to 100 people indoors, or 50% capacity. Outdoor events can increase from the current limit of 50 to 200 people.
It’s only February, but it’s already slim pickings for a 2021 weekend wedding at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. The estate venue said between existing bookings for this year and 2020 events delayed by the pandemic, their calendar is nearly full and people who already have dates secured don’t want to give them up.
“Most of our spring bookings were rescheduling from last year, so to say they would be pushed to next year, that’s almost a three-year engagement,” said Megan Bush, executive director at the Mansion.
The Wadsworth team said Lamont’s announcement about capacity restrictions prompted a new flurry of calls from people hoping to have a celebration.
“We definitely saw a huge increase in inquiries for future leads. Also our current clients, a lot of them are staying strong and they don’t want to reschedule," said Bush.
At New Park Brewing, the capacity cap increase will mean they’ll be able to get much better use out of their private event space which opened during the pandemic. People have already begun inquiring about available dates.
I think there’s a lot of pent-up demand. I think people are just kind of thinking and planning ahead and getting back to birthday parties a weddings and rehearsal dinners,” said New Park’s owner John Doyle.
Doyle says the venue is booking events for the spring with the hope that the state’s positive downward COVID trend continues. “We’re moving ahead. It’s kind of like anything in COVID, hopefully things keep going in the direction they’re going.”