On May 19, more people will be allowed in weddings, church services


AMHERST, NY (WIVB) The loosening of capacity limits, announced on Monday by Governor Andrew Cuomo, have a different impact from one venue to the next.

At St. Leo the Great Parish in Amherst, they’ve been using every other pew for each Mass, and come May 19th, they will still do that because even though capacity limits will be lifted in houses of worship, families will still have to be at least six feet apart.

“All along, we have encouraged that people feel safe and be safe,” said Monsignor Bob Zapfel, who is already starting to see more parishioners return after a year. “I think that every time the Governor lifts some of the restrictions, it creates a better atmosphere for people to come back, people just feel safer, and I think people will hopefully take that to heart and more and more will keep coming.”

The Jewish Discovery Center in Amherst has been having many services outdoors and will probably continue to do that because their capacity indoors is only about 80 people and six foot distancing will still be a challenge.

But at large wedding banquet facilities like The Grapevine Banquets, the most recent news is exactly what they’ve been waiting for. In two weeks, brides-to- be are not limited to 100 guests without testing, they can invite 250. If guests can prove vaccination or negative tests, weddings can have up to 500 people indoors.

“This is a big piece of what we needed,” said Liza Pane, co-owner of The Grapevine Banquets in Depew, “This was such awesome news to call my brides last night and tell them. It was tears of joy for a lot of them and I found it so rewarding to make those calls last night. We do have clients that are 250 to 500 on the bigger galas we host so that’s maybe 20% of our business, so that’s another piece that will tie together.”

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