The event industry works to adapt amid COVID-19 pandemic

How event spaces are handling the effects of COVID-19

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It’s been months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. Many businesses like restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores have had to adjust how they operate their business, but the event industry is having a tougher time.

“We didn’t think it was going to last this long to be honest,” said Ray Baca, the owner of Belle Vue Wilmington—an event venue in the heart of downtown Wilmington.

Baca says the wedding industry is hurting.

“There was a couple of months where I didn’t think I was going to have a job to come back to which was really sad and scary,” said Liz Hiner, the Catering Director for A Thyme Savor Catering.

Like Baca and Hiner, Jay Tatum, the owner of the Brooklyn Arts Center, has had to reschedule and cancel big events that bring in a lot of money.

“We were like ‘oh my gosh...we’re going to be shutdown,‘” said Tatum.

So to survive, the event industry has had to adapt.

“We’re doing a lot of deliveries,” said Hiner. “We’re doing a lot of smaller events. We’ve had a lot of pop-up events, like last minute.”

Baca was used to hosting big wedding events, but has now had to scale down in order to comply with the state and local mandates. He’s now hosting private dinner parties.

“Instead of five couples going out to a restaurant where maybe they don’t know everybody, they can come in here and bring their own beer, wine, champagne and get it catered or go to a local restaurant and bring in food,” said Baca.

Tatum says this has been a chance to get things done that they were too busy and didn’t have enough time to do on the 132-year-old church.

“If we’re going to be shutdown, we’re making a silver lining out of this,” said Tatum. “We’re going to renovate, we’re going to paint, we’re going to build, stain, poly, and fix things that we don’t have the time, cure time, proper way to do it when we have hundreds of people walking in every weekend. We made a positive out of the negative.”

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