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In DC, Couples Decry 'Extreme' Ban

Wedding dances aren't permitted due to COVID, per an order by Mayor Muriel Bowser
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2021 6:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – What's a wedding without dancing? In Washington, DC, an unfortunate necessity in the age of COVID, per an order by Mayor Muriel Bowser, and it's an order that's now facing backlash. Last week, Bowser loosened restrictions over holding weddings in the nation's capital, allowing 25% of a venue's capacity or up to 250 people, as more people have started lining up for vaccines and coronavirus case numbers have dipped. But in a move that couples tell Today feels like something out of Footloose, the mayor also mandated that, starting May 1, guests at wedding receptions must stay in their seats and socially distanced, with no "standing and dancing receptions" permitted, per USA Today. That means no couple's first dance, no father-daughter dance, and no DJs trying to get everyone on the dance floor, as well as no moving around from table to table visiting with other guests.

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Public health experts support Bowser's order, as virus-bearing droplets can spread more easily when people are in close contact on the dance floor and breathing heavily, per the Washington Post. Some couples are coming up with workarounds, such as airing pretaped father-daughter or bridal party dances, or ditching their bands and DJs for comedians and other entertainment that guests can enjoy from their seats. But that's not the same, some complain, especially when it comes to dances that are religious or cultural traditions. "It just seems a bit extreme to me," one groom-to-be who's a devout Jew tells USA Today of the fact that he likely won't be able to dance the hora at his June 4 wedding. Others are moving their weddings to other states, or opting to postpone their nuptials until they can get down on the dance floor. "This takes away huge moments," a soon-to-be bride tells Today. The mandate is set for now to run through May 20, though an extension is expected. (Read more weddings stories.)

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