NJ wedding venues look forward to business getting back to normal

As COVID restrictions relax, New Jersey wedding venues are looking forward to getting business back to normal.

Video Transcript

- 5:30, New Jersey taking another big step to reopening the state as it slowly tries to come back from the pandemic. Wedding venue owners and marriage hopefuls are starting to plan parties and ceremonies as new rules taking effect. Indoor capacity can now increase to 25% for up to 150 people, starting today. For couples who have been waiting to tie the knot, this is welcome news. Here's New Jersey reporter Toni Yates.

TONI YATES: 16 years ago, John Nagel made an investment that paid off, transforming a restaurant and nightclub into the now famous and elegant Spring Lake Manor, a premier catering venue for weddings, showers, and charity fundraisers. They're decked out right now for an evening baby shower. As COVID restrictions relax, Nagel is looking forward to getting business back to normal.

JOHN NAGEL: We try to keep up with all the governor's restrictions and orders and do that. Temperature check, masks are required, all my staff, we have the plexiglass throughout. But it's challenging. It has been. It's been 13 months now, it's challenging.

TONI YATES: Venues across the state have felt the crush of COVID.

GINA VITALE: A few days before our ceremony, the whole family came down with COVID.

TONI YATES: Gina Vitale had plans for her big January wedding, which downsized in the end to 19 guests at this Vorhees, New Jersey venue after COVID kept bringing bad news.

GINA VITALE: I was so excited. I had just gotten engaged, and I heard that someone's father at our church had passed away.

TONI YATES: As millions of people in the state are now vaccinated, Governor Murphy has increased indoor gatherings capacity to 35%. It's forward motion, but Nagel says the real numbers come from what's happening with the groups who book?

JOHN NAGEL: A lot of the events are still going to be postponed in and of itself. I think it's going to take until at least the fall before people feel comfortable again.

TONI YATES: Thankfully, Spring Lake Manor has booked several events, but the real hope lies in the year 2020, when venues are crossing their fingers that COVID restrictions are a distant memory and elegant rooms can once again be filled to capacity.