(WKBN) – Wedding season is right around the corner and the COVID-19 outbreak could leave brides in a panic. The bridal industry has taken a big hit because of the coronavirus and it’s affecting shops right here in the Valley.
When it comes to wedding planning, there are probably a dozen or so things on every bride’s checklist — but coronavirus isn’t one of them.
Local bridal shops are telling customers to start their dress shopping sooner rather than later — it could affect when their gowns come in.
Shops like Evaline’s and Stephanie Leigh said they’re seeing a lot of shipping delays.
“A few weeks, about a month or so and that could make a huge impact,” said Rachel March, with Evaline’s Bridal.
About 80% of the world’s western-style gowns are made in China, according to the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association. Because of the coronavirus outbreak there, factories have been forced to close to prevent the virus from spreading.
“That has then caused us, who have deadlines for everything, to just make sure everything is shipping on time and is able to get in,” said Stephanie Stratis, with Stephanie Leigh Bridal.
The bridal shops said their orders haven’t been affected too much — it’s new and rush orders that could cause some problems.
“We can’t get any rush orders in,” Stratis said. “To place a new order, we can’t get it quickly so you really need that six to eight months bridal, or anywhere between four to six months for mothers and bridesmaids.”
About 90% of Toula’s Bridal gowns are produced in China but the shop said it hasn’t been affected by the outbreak.
“I just ordered some dresses today and they told me, ‘No worries,'” Toula Kostoglou said.
However, if the outbreak continues, they’re worried it could affect them, too.
“It’s kind of scary, you know? It might hit me, too, like the other stores. I don’t know for sure,” Kostoglou said.
While most factory workers in China are back to work, bridal shops aren’t sure what will happen next.
“We don’t know what the future is going to hold,” Stratis said. “What if, in two months, it completely spreads more or what not? So that’s why we’re like, ‘Don’t wait.'”