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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

Erie County offers more information on weddings, event venues

Starting March 15, New York State is allowing venues to resume hosting weddings and/or catered events, with several COVID restrictions in place.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Venues have the green light from the governor to host weddings and other similar catered events starting March 15, with several restrictions.

2 On Your Side learned Friday evening the Erie County Department of Health and its Division of Environmental Health created a web-based form for venues to share information with the county at least five days prior to the event.

After filling out the form, the site indicates, "You will be contacted by the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) to set up an inspection date and time."

You can view the large gathering event notification form here.  

For venues that do multiple weddings, separate form submissions are required for each event.

Public health sanitarians are expected to contact venues and review on-site safety measures prior to March 15, starting with the larger venues in Erie County.

Facilities can schedule an on-site visit ahead of scheduled events by calling (716) 961-6800. More info from the Erie County Department of Health is available here.

This new information from Erie County comes shortly after the state released further guidelines on weddings earlier this week. 

Here's a breakdown of those New York State guidelines.

COVID-19 testing

  • All attendees must have proof of a negative PCR within 72 hours of the event OR proof of a negative rapid test within six hours of the event.
  • Venue employees and staff will be tested on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Anyone who has received both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days prior to the event are not included in the testing rules. However, venues may still require negative tests.

Social Distancing/Masks

  • Everyone must wear masks at all times unless sitting, eating or drinking at their assigned table.
  • All attendees must practice social distancing and remain six feet from people who are not in their immediate party, household or family.
  • Tables should be at least six feet apart and guests should be seated only with people from their immediate party, household or family whenever possible.
  • Cocktail hours are allowed with strict social distancing rules. Including, people must not eat or drink with people who are not in their immediate party, household or family.

 Dancing/Performances

  • Live music performers must be separated from guests, especially if playing a wind instrument by at least 12 feet or a physical barrier.
  • Ceremonial dances at the reception are allowed.
  • Guests may dance with only members of their immediate party, household or family seated at their table only in clearly marked zones.
  • Dancing zones should be at least six feet apart from other dancing zones.
  • Guests must wear masks while dancing.

You can read the full list of new guidelines here. Events will still have to be cleared with the local health departments.

We reached out to the state for clarification on who's responsible for all the testing. 

While we did not receive a direct answer, a spokesperson did direct us to the New York State Department of Health's website, which contains places where individuals can seek testing.

The spokesperson added that the state does not have a preferred testing partner.

See the governor’s February 22 announcement regarding weddings here.