The event industry has taken a huge hit this year. Weddings, corporate events, and conventions have all had to be postponed or even just canceled.
Early this year Genevra Sullivan launched a culinary special events company. The 15-year veteran of the industry invested all her savings into a project she expected would be a success. Then, unexpectedly the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Everything came to an immediate halt," said Sullivan.
That halt meant Sullivan was forced to refund money, turn away clients and prepare for the long haul. And then, the realities of COVID-19 struck even harder.
“My husband passed away in March of COVID-19," said Sullivan.
After dealing with the loss of her husband and her struggling business she says she worries about an uncertain future.
“It’s just one thing after another,” said Sullivan. “But we’re hopeful. We’re staying strong.”
And Sullivan isn't alone.
“I don’t know when my next paycheck is coming,” said Amy Ulkutenin, and event planner. “I don’t know when my next client is coming and it really caused a lot of financial devastation.”
Ulketekin has been in the event planning business for 12 years.
“Normally, we’ll plan between 80-100 weddings per year, and this year we’re down to six," said Ulketekin.
Her home has gone from a two-income household to solely relying on her husband which she says, isn't enough.
“My mortgage is in forbearance,” said Ulketekin.
Both women holding on by a thread don't know how much longer they can survive without the state reopening their industry.
“We’re really not allowed to work, but we want to work,” said Sullivan.
Over 100 event professionals from across the state plan to head to Sacramento next Tuesday dressed in wedding dresses and tuxedos to bring awareness to the struggling industry.