Honesty time: I wasn’t going to write this blog post. I wasn’t going to address COVID-19. I wasn’t going to send out emails. I wasn’t going to speak to what is happening in the world.
Maybe I didn’t want to admit what was happening. Maybe I didn’t want to add to the hype. In all reality, I still don’t know how I feel about it. My emotions are up, down, and sideways – especially as a small business owner.
What I do know: I can’t ignore it. Neither can you all. So, I wanted to provide current and future clients my Support Plan, and my intentions as a small business owner moving forward.
As I am sure you all have seen, within the last 24 hours, the CDC has released the following information:
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals. Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene, and social distancing. When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html
If you wedding is scheduled to take place within the next 8 weeks, expect to see an email from me explaining possible action plans we can take moving forward. I cannot image what you all may be going through – vendors, couples, venues, etc. – and my heart is with you all. I know you all entrusted myself and your other vendors with one of the most special days in your life journey, and I intend to provide you all with as much support as I can moving forward.
If your wedding is scheduled beyond 8 weeks, please keep informed and let me know if you have any concerns. As of now, I am intending to provide coverage to all of my 2020 weddings that are scheduled, and plan to work with you all in coming up with the best plan together. All I ask is that you reach out to me if you have any worries/fears/concerns, and I am more than happy to discuss them with you.
As cited from Katy Weaver Photography, she has some helpful tips in how we can all get through this together:
-If you are getting married and have event insurance, check to see if your insurance covers anything impacted by the Coronavirus. It’s good to know in advance!
-If you are getting married, keep your guests posted about ways you can help them! Post on your wedding website about the virus situation in the wedding location, and tell sick guests to PLEASE stay home. Tell people what precautions you will be taking as their wedding host. Keep them updated with travel plans. Communication goes a long way. Use your wedding website as a tool!
-Include creative COVID-19 precautions during your wedding. Cute hand sanitizers, hand-washing-stations, masks, or gloves for dancing. Maybe rent an extra-large dance floor, so people don’t have to be so close together. Space tables out more. Find ways to be extra hygienic and make people feel safe.
-Get creative about ways to include people who can’t be there. Worried that your grandparents or immunocompromized guests can’t make it? Find a way to live stream your ceremony and as much of the wedding as possible, so they can watch from afar. Or hire a videographer to capture the day for them to see later.
-Communicate with vendors as much as possible if you are considering postponing your event. The worst thing is to cancel last minute! Most of our businesses will take a huge hit this year from the virus, so preparing for slower cash flow is essential. We are trying our best to help clients, but you can help us too by being super candid about everything!
-Be open to having a smaller wedding than you originally anticipated. It could be really special! I love photographing elopements, and I’d be happy to help you plan one instead of a bigger event.
Remember, we are all in this together. We are all a little scared. We are all getting hit economically and worried about loved ones getting sick. Be kind. Be understanding. It will go a long way!
If you have a session scheduled with me within the next 8 weeks (March 16th, 2020 through May 4th, 2020), expect an email from me explaining action plan of ways for us both to stay healthy and feel comfortable with scheduled sessions. As those session will not be over 50 people, I still intend to hold engagement sessions, family sessions, elopements, and spring minis as my own health and the health of others’ allows.
If you have concerns about keeping your session or wanting to postpone, please reach out and we can discuss things further.
Here is some ways I will keep myself and yourselves safe during our scheduled sessions (again, the lovely Katy Weaver Photography gets credit for most of these):
-I will wash my hands thoroughly before every photoshoot and will avoid touching my face during sessions.
-I won’t shake your hand or hug you when we meet. We can awkwardly wave or jump up and down in shared excitement -haha- 😉
-I will not touch you, and I will keep a 5 ft distance if possible during sessions unless you request a specific shot that requires me to get closer. I will choose lenses that let me stay a little further away. If you are struggling with poses, I will do my best to model them for you. PSA: my acting skills sub-pare, but I will do my part to make our sessions fun while also helping you stay safe and comfortable.
-I will give you the option to Skype or facetime instead of meet over drinks/dinner in person to discuss sessions or questions you have. I will also give the option to go to a place you feel comfortable or not do sessions at your home, etc.
-I will be honest with you about my own health and my travel schedule.
-I will minimize my personal exposure to large events, sick people, and crowded places as much as possible.
-I will not bring props from home, or if I do, I will sanitize them before use.
Ways that I request that you can support my and your health during scheduled sessions:
-I will have hand sanitize with me to use if needed.
-I will not handle props you bring from home, and will verbally direct you on how to use them during sessions.
-Please, please, PLEASE do not come to sessions feeling ill or “under the weather”. I would much rather reschedule than risk your health, my health, or the health of others in public setting. As I previously stated, I will be more flexible when it comes to my rescheduling and cancelling of sessions.
-If you are feeling uncomfortable at all keeping your session, let’s chat about it. I want to help you and your family feel as comfortable as possible.
Newborn Clients: special note for all of you. As I won’t be allowed, in the next two months, to go to the hospital for Fresh 48 sessions, I would be more than willing to rent a studio space, no cost to you, for your newborn session, or as I have always offered, do them at your home.
Taking the time to read this blog post and stay up to date for yourself and for the safety of others is something I greatly appreciate. I have been thinking about all of you, and my heart is with all of you during this time. Current and future clients, you entrusted me to capture some of life’s most important and monumental moments, and I plan to continue to provide the best care, coverage, and service as I possible can (and am allowed to!). I don’t take this responsibility lightly, and I want you to know that I am here for you all.
I know I cannot speak for all small business owners, but I think I can say that that we are all working tirelessly to manage these new regulations from the CDC. Even if you haven’t heard directly from us, we are tackling this head-on behind the scenes, and trying our very best to navigate this. My hope is that you all can believe that we all care about you, and that you are not alone in whatever feelings you have towards what is happening. To know that no feeling is wrong, and that as we move through this, myself and my business will be here to support you with each step, plan, and action you take.