We recently received an email communication from the Grand Canyon National Park regarding their handling of Special Use Permits during this COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, this information this has not been added to the Grand Canyon National Park website, so I wanted to make this available through our own website for anyone that needs to know. See below:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended participation in a program called “15 Days to Slow the Spread.” This is a nationwide effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 through implementation of social distancing. This program advises against social gatherings and avoiding discretionary travel. In this context, social gathering is defined as a group of 10 or more people.
In order to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations, GRCA is revoking all SUPs issued through March 31, 2020 with approved group sizes of 10 or more people. SUPs issued for events taking place through March 31, 2020, with approved group sizes of nine or less people are unaffected. The current guidance authorizes group sizes up to 50 between April 1 and mid-May, though that is subject to change as the COVID-19 response develops.
The park is recommending the development of contingency plans as local, state, and federal recommendations are subject to change.
We apologize for any inconvenience. Our office will be happy to work with you to reschedule events as staff time allows. The best method to communicate with the Commercial Permits Office is via email at: GRCA_Permits_Mail@nps.gov. Although the Commercial Permits Office will continue to process SUP applications, no new permits will be issued at this time for events greater than 10 people.
Please note that a previous update for permit processing times may be extended due to COVID-19: https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/news/grand-canyon-permit-processing-updates.htm.
We are doing our best to monitor the effects of COVID-19 on business operations in and around the Grand Canyon National Park and to communicate quickly how that might affect our clients. Currently, the Grand Canyon National Park is to remain open and accessible with free entry. Most amenities within the National Park are closing through May 22. The closures includes all National Park lodges, restaurants, visitor services, shuttle service, some tours and more. Campgrounds appear to be staying open, with limited amenities. For the most current information put out directly by the National Park check their website HERE.
We do know that Under Canvas Grand Canyon is committed to opening April 9. They have recently modified their policies, allowing reservations to be modified or cancelled at no charge up to 7 days before your scheduled arrival date. This is a great option for accommodations near the Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon Wedding Packages is continuing to serve our clients, as well as other Couples whose large wedding plans may have been cancelled elsewhere. Our team will follow all CDC guidelines regarding the maximum group size and practice proper personal health & safety precautions; including the suggested 6ft of separation among all members of the group. For existing clients that cannot travel to the Grand Canyon due to this pandemic, we are allowing event dates to be rescheduled for a future date without penalty. If you are currently a booked client and we have reason to believe that your wedding date will be impacted by all of this, we will be reaching out to you directly.
As I sit here today hearing about the mass cancellations and rescheduling of large weddings in Arizona (and pretty much everywhere); my heart truly breaks for both the Couples (and businesses) blindsided by this pandemic. So many Couples have been planning one of the most special days in their lives, and spent hard earned money to have every detail just perfect, only to have their plans destroyed in the blink of an eye by the Coronavirus. And, many businesses are all of the sudden faced with panic and uncertainty. No doubt, many tears are being shed right now and emotions are running high, for so many reasons.
BUT, if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that LOVE ALWAYS WINS! In times of high stress, we naturally gravitate to our loved ones and realize that they are what is truly important. Granted… we have not seen anything like this in our lifetime, but one thing is for sure; Couples still want to get married. Given the recommendations against group gatherings and unnecessary travel, many Couples find themselves asking “what do we do now?”.
FIRST AND FOREMOST… if you are a Grand Canyon Wedding Packages client, we are not currently requiring the cancellation or rescheduling of any weddings. As we all know, this situation is changing almost daily, so we will notify you via email and post updates via social media if anything changes. But, if your particular circumstances prevent you from continuing with your original plans, we will allow you to reschedule. If you have any questions about your specific situation, please feel free to call or email us and we will be happy to talk with you directly.
Weddings in general will surely continue, but they may look very different for a while. This doesn’t mean that they will be any less amazing; just maybe different than Couples originally imagined. So, we hope to be able to offer some guidance to ALL Couples facing this new reality. If your wedding has been cancelled or rescheduled by another venue, please consider the following:
What to Do Now
- Did you purchase wedding insurance prior to March 11, 2020? If yes, check to see if it includes postponement and/or cancellation coverage. Understanding your policy, if you have one, is the first thing I recommend. This is key to making decisions going forward. (Most insurance companies I am aware of have excluded cancellation or postponement due to Coronavirus from new policies as of March 11 when it was declared a pandemic.)
- Contact your venue to inquire about options. Are they allowing small weddings (probably 10 or under right now). If so, maybe you could proceed with a small group. OR, are they cancelling or rescheduling all weddings of any size? If you have a wedding planner, contact them first and allow them to assist you with options in order to alleviate some stress.
- Be patient with your wedding professionals. They are all doing the best they can given the current circumstances. Many businesses and professionals are scrambling to assist Couples whose weddings are planned in the immediate future (like right now). So, please be kind and patient as everyone navigates this new situation.
- If you do not wish to postpone your wedding, but your venue is not able to accommodate you, consider some alternatives. Maybe you can proceed with the original date if you modify your plans. Consider having a very small wedding on the same date at a different location with your other vendors. Backyard weddings, park weddings and other scenic outdoor weddings are still possible with small groups (probably under 10 for now). Most, if not all, non-venue wedding professionals are continuing to work with proper health & safety precautions.
- Consider taking this opportunity to plan something amazing for just you and your partner. Elope instead! There are some amazing outdoor locations in Arizona that would require very little travel. These can even be “day-trips” that do not require an overnight stay. Think Grand Canyon, Sedona, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, the forest in Flagstaff, the beautiful desert in Phoenix… so many beautiful locations in Arizona to consider!
We Can Help
Grand Canyon Wedding Packages is entirely focused on Elopements and small weddings in Arizona. This puts us in a unique position to help Couples wanting to be married now (or within the next few months). Not only do we offer elopement packages at the Grand Canyon, but all over the state, through other niche websites. If you are interested in discussing Arizona Elopement options, please reach out to us and we would be happy to talk with you. We are happy to speak with you and offer advice, regardless of whether you book a package with us. However, we will be offering special discounts on Elopement packages for Couples that have had their other wedding plans impacted by the Coronavirus. Contact us for more information.