ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — One couple who waited out the COVID-19 pandemic hoping for a more normal wedding had their plans rocked when St. Louis County announced a new mask mandate would go into effect on Monday.
"As soon as we had the opportunity, we wanted to get vaccinated," bride-to-be Laura Thompson said. "I think that's the hard part, we followed the rules and now we are the ones who kind of have to pay the price."
Thompson and her fiance, John Rhodes, already postponed their wedding once. The couple chose cancellation and rebooking fees over compromising the health of their friends and family.
Thompson and Rhodes' wedding is scheduled for Saturday, July 31, and with 95% of their wedding guests vaccinated, they feel like they can have a safe event — without masks.
The couple had been to a few weddings this season and were finally starting to get excited for theirs.
"We were really looking forward to having a maskless event," Thompson said.
With their wedding already pushed off a year, they don't want to cancel.
Thompson said they are instead considering asking unvaccinated friends and family to skip it.
While Thompson and Rhodes are not getting married at an Andre's Banquet facility, they do agree with owner John Armengol, who says he hopes St. Louis County keeps restrictions to a mask mandate only and doesn't go back to capacity limitations.
Armengol said a capacity restriction would be "crippling."
For their part, Thompson and Rhodes are frustrated with their fellow Missourians.
"When you look globally, nations are clamoring for vaccines. So it's very privileged to have access and not use it," Thompson said.