Wedding photographers upset they still can't work in Toronto
TORONTO -- Wedding photographers are confused and frustrated they haven’t received the go-ahead to start working in Ontario regions still in stage one of the government’s pandemic reopening plan.
Right now, the Ontario government is allowing outdoor wedding ceremonies with up to 50 people, but Toronto is still in stage one of reopening the economy and photography services have been listed to open in stage two.
“Really stressful because you don’t know when work is going to start again,” Toronto photographer Scarlet O’Neill said. “I think there has been a bit of unfair treatment.”
O’Neill has already lost dozens of shoots this spring, each valued at thousands of dollars and believes wedding photographers were forgotten in stage one of the government’s plan.
There is also a petition circulating calling for photography work in Ontario to resume. It has more than 13, 000 supporters and states that, just like golf courses which opened weeks ago, taking pictures can be done with physical distancing.
“You want the centre of attention to be the couple, you don’t want the photographers to be the centre of attention, so we’re always kind of far enough away. We have different lenses that we can used to get closer and further,” O’Neill said.
CTV News Toronto asked Ontario’s Ministry of Finance the reasoning behind shuttered wedding photography in stage one.
In a statement spokesperson Scott Blodgett said the province has committed to gradually and safely reopen Ontario.
“This staged approach ensures we protect public health while balancing the needs of Ontario’s economy. Businesses, services, etc. that can modify their operations to meet workplace safety guidance and public health advice (e.g., physical distancing) will proceed in earlier stages,” Blodgett said.
O’Neill has been receiving the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, but because her husband plays in a Canadian band for large crowds, she said her family has lost a big portion of their income and couples are missing out by not having photographers.
“I would love photographers in Toronto to be able to work,” O’Neill said.
“I would love to be able to create these moments so they can look back on it and be really happy with the photographs that they were hoping to have with them for next generations.”
O’Neill is eager to pay her mortgage and bills and said if weddings are going ahead, it would be great if everyone who could can safely attend be there, and do their job.