Hi ... HOW ARE YOU?
Seriously – like, how ARE you?
In the blink of a that week back in March – we got side smacked , our worlds have been locked down
and nowadays, a week feels like a year. But we’ve got this.
As with all things, we may have to adjust, but this too shall eventually pass. Take time to cuddle, reconnect and plan for a bright future.
The impact of
OHIO’s STAY AT HOME ORDER
- Stay at Home has been extended to May 1, 2020 and we are now all wearing masks in public.
- Based on how the containment efforts progress – on May 1 - i is unknown if this Order will be extended, lifted, partially lifted and if so, which parts. Or how long we will be wearing masks in when in a group setting. We just don't know.
- Given the extreme caution taken by the Governor's office thus far, it is probably that this order will be extended through the Virus Peak which is slated to occur at the end of April, and into May, plus possibly the abatement period, which would presumably be through May into June. Wearing masks could last much longer.
- This order currently prohibits any "public or private gatherings of any size, outside the household or single living unit" and states that "any gathering of more than 10 people is prohibited".
- While "religious entities, facilities, groups and gatherings ... including weddings and funerals" ARE listed as "essential business" and could in fact possibly still take place with 10 people or less...
- Wedding RECEPTIONS are still restricted to 10 people or less ... and ...
- .... the business of Photography (i.e. the act of photographing a religious gathering, such as a wedding) is NOT listed as an "essential business" and as such – we are currently not permitted to work outside the home
- Violating the Order is now a Second Degree Misdemeanor with up to $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
- Please keep in mind that it's not only Photography that is **not** considered "essential" ... it could apply to other vendors as well, such as Officiants, DJ's Florists, Makeup
- As such - this directly applies me, Shannon Ahlstrand Photography LLC, as a registered business in the state of Ohio.
- In light of this and personal safety factors, and from a pure logistics preservation perspective I very tenderly and respectfully urge my couples to consider moving your wedding dates to a time that is hopefully far from and safely outside the Virus Peak and eventual abatement curve - such as August or later.
OHIO.GOV – STAY AT HOME ORDER extended to MAY 1
UPDATED PDF of FULL ORDER extended to MAY 1
SHOULD WE POSTPONE ?
- I know this time is so super stressful and this decision is weighing on your minds. I am sure you have been studying the research, weighing the consequences and trying to figure out how to save your special day while keeping your loved ones safe.
- While only you two can make that decision - here's what I know:
- Many couples in the Northeast Ohio community with weddings in April through June have already decided to postpone to a later date in 2020. Some are have secured back-up dates and are holding out hope and want to wait and see.
- The conversation among the Wedding Professional Community is that since COVID-19 involves Silent Carriers, we understand there is a statistically significant risk when putting each of ourselves into large groups of people from potentially all across Northeast Ohio and the country, including states where no protection measures have been enacted. We want to protect ourselves and your guests from risk of contracting the virus, and also protect you, your guests and the greater community from us potentially acting as carriers of the virus while interacting with them at your wedding, or by working from wedding to wedding.
- There is large consensus that many of us, but of course not all, do not wish to place ourselves into a group settings such as Receptions where we could become silent carriers to increase our statistical likelihood of infection.
- This recent 4/9/2020 media coverage on how easily the virus was transmitted among two small groups of people over a few days very closely illustrates our concern:
- We are all earnest in wanting to preserve our relationship with you, juggle new dates and make it as seamless as possible. With that, the sooner a decision is made, the more options you’ll have and the quicker you can go back to looking forward to your day.
- For my May & June 2020 weddings, I have made my entire calendar available for the flexibility of rescheduling to August and beyond. I'll absolutely delay any payments due until the final Wedding Date is known.
- In light of this and personal safety factors, from a pure logistics preservation perspective I very tenderly and respectfully urge my couples to consider moving your wedding dates to a time that is hopefully far from and safely outside the Virus Peak and eventual abatement curve - such as August or later.
- For my August – December 2020 weddings, please consider this webpage as a reference point for conversations we may to have. We will stay in close contact as any kind of assessment or decision making time draws closer.
Other things I’m sure you have already considered but I wanted to put out there:
- The Timeline of the Virus is projected to peak at the end of April, with cases continuing into and through May, meaning easement on restrictions may be limited, or not until late June or later.
- I’m sure many couples are looking to their venue for guidance, however if you look at the trajectory of the virus, the time it took Wuhan, China to permit people to leave their residences was 10 weeks. For Ohio - 10 weeks from March 14 would be the beginning of June.
- If this is the case – it is probable that at least in the State of Ohio – crowd bans and CDC recommended social distancing numbers could remain in place through May and June.
- Travel Restrictions remain ever-changing and unknown:
- No one knows when, if, or how travel will be affected and how that might affect the attendance of out of town guests
- Health & Wellness Status of your Guests:
- Everyone has their own levels of comfort and safety orientation. Even if a restriction is lifted close to or during the peak of the virus – will your guests, especially those over 60 or with health concerns, feel safe or or be able to attend?
My very loving and impassioned suggestion – as a mother, daughter, wife and former events manager - is to consider securing a date that is more safely away from the peak of this pandemic, and well outside what we hope are any future scientific warnings of danger.
This will help to reduce risk and ensure you don’t get faced with the last minute threat of having to cancel the wedding, with limited recourse.
The further away your rescheduled wedding is from the peak of this pandemic, the greater likelihood that the majority of your guests will be able to attend and that you will be able to breathe easy and enjoy your day, the way you had imagined, and as you deserve to!
HOW WILL WE MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER?
- I care about you and I absolutely want to be the one capturing your wedding day.
- That said – there are so many factors that affect this dynamic and/or my ability to be there.
- While the Legal Factors are concretely out of my hands, the Ethical & Safety factors are equally non-negotiable for me.
- As a registered business in the State of Ohio, I am legally bound to follow all Orders/Bans/Restrictions put forth by all levels of Government at any given time
- If I don’t – I and any other vendor under these restrictions would be breaking the law.
- While the nature of how a wedding can occur seems to be evolving, one thing is currently certain: Photography is NOT deemed an "essential business", and because capturing a wedding is work that can only occur "outside the home" ... while a wedding ceremony itself might have permission to take place ... it does not mean that the "non-essential business" of photography will have legal permission to be there.
- Because of this, I would not be able to photograph any wedding or event if restrictions are in place for non-essential businesses.
Ethically & Safely:
- As a business owner, I have committed to adhering to any Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Ohio Department of Health, recommendations, restrictions, suggestions or guidelines
- This means that I will create space to protect you and your loved ones.
- I will do whatever I can to prevent harm to you, your loved ones and my own family – both physical (contracting the virus) and financial (incurring hospital bills that people cannot afford)
- This may mean staying home, staying away, avoiding gatherings, or possibly wearing a mask and gloves while working
- Similarly - if your wedding day falls very close to, or within an active curve of COVID-19’s prevalence or severity ...
- ... and crowd restrictions are lifted or non-essential businesses are green-lighted to operate outside the home again ...
- ... but there is still compelling, reliable and reasonable scientific evidence indicating the ongoing need to keep a safe distance ...
- ... because of the close-contact nature of wedding/event photography prevents one's ability to keep a safe distance ...
- ... we will likely have to find you replacement upbeat and caring photographer who is both willing and able to take that risk.
COVID-19'S IMPACT on ME
- My own family is grappling with a sense of worry and heightened desire for caution to protect ourselves and our fragile loved ones.
- The most important people in my life are in Cleveland, and there are only 4 of them. Three are in the 60+ category, the other is my child. My husband, who is 14 years older than me - he is one year from 60. My 63 brother in law who moved here from Nebraska when he retired from the railroad. My 83 year old respiratory-frail mother who is in quarantine just 5 miles away. And my mini me, my world - my 9 year old daughter. They are all I have, we are all they have and while adjusting to the new normal - they are still scared.
- Over half of our friends in Cleveland are healthcare workers who hit the front lines every day. And I just learned that an old friend was set to donate her kidney to her sweet 7 year old son but their surgery was postponed because there aren’t enough resources.
- But as a family, we are working off of optimism, hope and a staunch resolve to do-our-part, stay home and stay away; making avoidable choices that minimize the risk of spread and protect everyone.
- We are blessed that today we seem to be okay and that we have each other.
- While being cooped up is getting punchy – we stop and remind each other to appreciate the simple fact that we can still laugh, hug and be together in the same room – because at any moment, that could change on a dime.
I WANT TO BE THERE WITH YOU ....
I like you and I care about you.
These are scary, unprecedented times and I think we are all trying our best to make decisions we can live with into tomorrow and for the rest of our lives.
I want you to have a heartfelt, heart-full wedding day, filled with love and complete peace of mind to know that your guests can safely hug and kiss you, grab your hands, pinch your cheeks, throw their arms around your shoulder, share food and drink, pass that bottle of whiskey, and get super sweaty with you on your dance floor.
I support you, I want to be there, and I'll do everything I can to ride this wave with you.
xo xo xo
GOVERNOR DeWINE on CORONAVIRUS
CDC - CENTERS for DISEASE CONTROL
OHIO.GOV COVID-19 OFFICIAL SITE
GETTING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE
Be sure to stay closely connected to your Probate Court in case they make any updates that enable couples to get their marriage licenses more easily or sooner.
Cuyahoga County Began Issuing Marriage Licenses Remotely on March 19
On March 12 - Lorain County Probate Court urged couples to get their Marriage License in the next 60 days
As of March 14, Summit County suspended issuance of Marriage Licenses until April 14 at which point they will reassess the situation
On March 19 - Lake County began limiting public access to the Courts in response to the coronavirus