• Ohio will allow 300 guests at wedding receptions beginning June 1
  • The social distancing guidelines may be similar to restaurants and bars, which opened May 21
  • Dancing, buffets and wedding decorations might not be permitted

Ohio wedding banquets may have up to 300 guests as Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Thursday that the state will be relaxing its social distancing rules beginning June 1.

Officials have yet to release the specific guidelines as banquet centers, and catering businesses are preparing to resume. Husted, however, said that it might be similar to the guidelines set for restaurants and bars, which reopened on May 21.

"We recognize that there are a lot of weddings and events that are important to people's lives that can and should go on," Husted said. "We are just asking that it be done safely — as safely as possible — to avoid the spread of the virus."

According to News 5 Cleveland, restaurants, and bars in Ohio are prohibited from opening the dance floor and self-serve buffets to discourage congregating. Thus, wedding receptions will also likely have none of these.

Restaurants are also required to set tables six feet apart, and a maximum of 10 people can be seated at one table. If wedding banquets are to follow the same arrangement, then each table will also be limited to 10 people.

Wedding decorations at the reception area and on the tables might not be allowed as well. The guidelines for Ohio bars and restaurants prohibit common table items like vases or condiments as these may be touched and leave traces of the virus if someone is a carrier. 

Gov. Mike DeWine's spokesperson Dan Tierney said in an interview with Fox News that catering companies helped them decide to allow weddings with 300 guests.

"Caterers made a really good point," he said. "They said, 'Look, we have a place we can do it. We can provide the exact same distancing that a restaurant can.'"

In mid-March, DeWine issued the state's stay-at-home orders and banned large gatherings to reduce the risk of the coronavirus. Weddings were still allowed to proceed but with only 10 people in total, including the bride, groom and the wedding officiant.

The relaxed rules comes as Ohio's COVID-19 cases are at 30,794, with 1,872 deaths as of May 23, per the Ohio Health Department. Reports cited that testing has been widely underway thus, case numbers are expected to increase.