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Weddings Will Be Possible This Summer, Chicago’s Top Doc Says, Giving Hope To Couples Who Postponed Plans Due To Pandemic

"I think by this summer you probably will be in good shape to have a wedding, and especially if you do it outside," Dr. Allison Arwady said.

John and Christy Sims married March 21, 2020, outside their Ukrainian Village home.
Melanie Kane Photography/Provided
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CHICAGO — People will likely be able to hold weddings this summer, Chicago’s top doctor predicted Tuesday — a welcome message for many couples who have put off wedding celebrations for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Couples should still take precautions, and the pandemic could throw out another surprise that would delay parties, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said during a livestream Tuesday. But the doctor said she is “really optimistic” people will be able to host weddings as the weather warms up.

“I do think by this summer, broadly, you’re going to be able to have a wedding in the way that you want to have a wedding,” Arwady said.

Outdoor weddings likely won’t pose many issues, Arwady said, and weddings will be much safer if all adults in attendance are vaccinated. She said the health department won’t be worried about celebrations that fit that bill.

“I think by this summer you probably will be in good shape to have a wedding, and especially if you do it outside. That really decreases risk for everybody,” Arwady said.

But people should keep COVID-19 in mind when planning their celebrations, Arwady said.

Weddings could include children who aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated, including kids who could face higher risk from coronavirus. There could also be guests who aren’t getting vaccinated, Arwady said.

That could mean some safety precautions — like masks at points — would be needed, Arwady said.

Arwady said the city is also thinking about ways Chicago can host events and do “some of the things we love” to do during warm months — but with social distancing and without drawing a huge crowd. Outdoor events and performances could be possible so long as performers are vaccinated, she said.

“I think by this summer, an outdoor event, particularly if all your performers are vaccinated, absolutely will be something I’m very hopeful we’ll be in good shape to do,” she said.

During the same livestream, though, Arwady noted Chicago’s positivity rate is going up, as are the number of COVID-19 cases being reported per day. Officials have said the uptick is being driven by people in the 18-29 and 30-39 age groups.

Arwady urged people to continue to take safety precautions.

“I will tell you, we are worried about this,” she said.

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