Yesterday the Government of New Brunswick released its COVID-19 recovery timeline. I wanted to examine what this means for wedding and portrait photography. Disclaimer: this is my personal interpretation and would be superseded by further clarification from the government.
As of April 24, we are in a transitional phase (peach on the chart), where gatherings are prohibited; businesses or activities that cannot ensure physical distancing are closed; and masks must be worn.
The “progressively loosen” (orange) target date is May 9 at the earliest, dependent on the outcome of this two-week+ transitional phase. In orange, gatherings of “10 or less” WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING would be allowed, and businesses that can ensure physical distancing would be allowed to open with strict controls. While a photographer could photograph a family portrait or intimate elopement if they maintained physical distance, I would not recommend it, because:
- To me, photography is a “close contact” service
- Consider a socially distant elopement: a couple, an officiant, two witnesses, and a photographer: 6 people, at least most of whom need to be 6 feet from each other. The intimacy of the moment is broken by the physical awkwardness of it.
Projecting the timeline gets harder the farther from today we get, and it is important to remember that we could have a set-back at any time. In a best-case scenario, and short timelines, we achieve “progressively loosen (yellow)” by May 30. However, under the same best-case timeline but using the more cautious four-week phases, we do not achieve yellow until June 20.
In the yellow phase, family and friends can gather freely (it is not clear in what numbers), gatherings of “50 or less” WITH PHYSICAL DISTANCING would be allowed, and activities that cannot ensure physical distancing would be allowed open with “basic controls.” (Note: it is not clear to me yet what “basic controls” entails.)
It is only in the yellow phase, again May 30 at the absolute earliest, that I believe a family portrait shoot could be done ethically and logistically, or an intimate elopement or tiny wedding could take place without getting too awkward or unwieldy.
The most open phase, green, will not come until we have vaccination or herd immunity, which is not expected for at least one year. “Large gatherings” (which per the chart I would have to interpret as gatherings over 50 people) are prohibited until December 31, 2020 or longer.
Lastly, under the Mandatory Order (state of emergency declaration), the border continues to be closed and all people entering New Brunswick are mandated to self-isolate for 14 days if admitted; travelling “for social purposes” is prohibited.
I am very sorry to say that for summer 2020, weddings are effectively cancelled.