Canceled parties and events hurt local rental business; layoffs begin

Quinces and parties are being postponed across the Coastal Bend.
Posted at 6:53 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 20:11:57-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact communities around the world.

Here in town, party and event rental companies said they’re starting to struggle financially, and are now being forced to begin laying off some employees.

Since 1984, Butler Signature Events has decorated, facilitated, and orchestrated parties and events for people in the Corpus Christi area.

But the small family business said the coronavirus pandemic has turned prime party season into a historically dull one.

“Zero dollars coming in,” said Keith Cochran, general manager of Butler Signature Events.

Cochran said customers are either canceling or postponing their events that were scheduled to take place anywhere from March through May.

“All the event centers have been shut down, anything over 50 people right now cannot happen,” said Cochran. “And it’s going to get worse.”

Just this week, officials enacted the Nueces County Emergency Declaration, which places restrictions on mass gatherings where there are more than 50 people.

Cochran said as a result, the lack of business and income flow has forced the company to lay off a one-fourth of their staff.

“Fifteen people laid off on Monday,” Cochran said.

“It hurt at first, but, you know, I come by check on everybody make sure they’re still going and I'm looking forward to coming back one day hopefully,” said Vicky Rodriguez, who lost her job at BSE this week.

The company said to try and continue operating their small business, they’re offering discounts on parties and events scheduled for the later part of the year.

Butler Signature Events said they’re looking forward to hiring their employees back once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control and people begin to be able to host parties with large crowds again.