With each passing day, more and more events, including weddings, are being postponed or cancelled, as a result of COVID-19, according to event and wedding consultant, Tricia Ng-A-Mann.
“Like night and day....it’s an absolute switch on, switch off. Button switching off. That has happened as a result of the virus...everything has come to a grinding halt,” she says.
Before the virus, Ng-A-Mann worked, almost non-stop, for ten years, planning hundreds of events.
Now, she’s being forced to take a rest, of sorts, from her routine.
In fact, the entire industry is.
“It would be a really interesting exercise to see if I were to put pen-to-paper and draw you what the event cycle looks like. I think people would be surprised to see how many of us are interconnected through this industry, without even knowing,” she says.
The industry is a web of closely-interlinked relationships and services, based on trust.
As a consultant, she oversees events, liaising with other vendors, and service providers, each playing their part in bringing it all together.
That position provides her with a unique perspective.
While she’s doing her best to maintain a positive mindset, she acknowledges that service providers, and their many employees, are facing unprecedented challenges.
Stressing the importance of remaining positive, she confirms that some people, in the industry, are out of work for the time being.
With dozens of empty vases on the shelves, an employee of 137 Flowers, on Tragarete Road, prepares one dozen roses for a waiting customer.
One by one, he carefully trims and cuts the leaves, bringing out the vividness of the red and orange of the petals.
It’s the only bit of colour in an otherwise gloomy situation.
Those flowers, as of midday, are the only flowers he prepares for the day.
“Weddings have been postponed. We had a few functions, but those have been postponed as well. So, we just have to manage the situation,” according to the store manager, Nicholas Providence.
Up until late January, things were busy, he says, but then COVID-19 came around.
The uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is making it difficult for him to forecast where the small business will be in the coming months, and what steps will have to be taken to put it back on track.
However, he’s already making some tough decisions.
“We’ve had to cut our staff by 50 per cent. And, also of the 50 per cent who are here now, we have to rotate them during the week because of how slow business is,” Providence laments.
For the employees, at home, waiting for this situation to pass, they can do little else but hope that it remains temporary.