Covid-19: Things to consider to ensure a safe celebration in the festive season

It is natural for people to feel excited during the festive season, but they must not forget that the pandemic is very much on. The government mandates that people wear masks at all times and also follow social distancing.

With celebrations for Navratri and Durga Puja beginning soon, Dr Sandeep Patil, chief intensivist and Dr Sudhir Gore, head-emergency medicine, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, say after months of isolation, economic anxiety and pandemic fatigue, it is understandable that people yearn for hugs from family members and meet-ups with friends. “But, there is no need to celebrate festivals by gathering in a crowd; the festivities can be scaled down, too.”

They suggest some guidelines to follow for a small-scale celebration at home. Read on.

* Make your event as safe as possible for guests; ventilate the rooms appropriately or host the event in the terrace/balcony to enable natural ventilation.
* Keep the gathering small and short.
* Encourage people to wear masks and ensure enough space for each guest to maintain at least a 1-metre distance from others.
* Help your guests follow COVID-19 appropriate measures — provide masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer or access to soap and water, tissues and bins with lids that close.
* Follow guidance issued by local public health authorities before you plan a gathering.

According to the doctors, if you do plan to go out, keep in mind the following factors:

1. All crowded places should be avoided; festivals should be celebrated with all precautions.
2. Meet people in open areas and maintain distance.
3. Wearing a mask is a must once you step out of the house.
4. Six feet or two metres of social distancing is compulsory.
5. Sanitise your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds).
6. Go out with only your social bubble.
7. Spitting is strictly prohibited.
8. Even if you find yourself in a crowd, make sure you wear a mask and avoiding face-to-face contact.
9. Wash your clothes with detergent after returning home and also take a hot water bath.
10. Experts suggest that those with respiratory complaints or a weakened immune system must refrain from venturing out.
11. Consult a doctor without delay if you notice any symptoms.

If you do have to step out to celebrate, make sure you avoid the crowd. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

In the pandemic, you can celebrate the festive season differently.

– As a family, be there for each other: Try to have conversations. Maybe a virtual call or small gathering while maintaining social distancing can be done. Listen to how others are coping and act with empathy.

– Gifting: Your gifts can be a way to share your love with your family and friends.

– Beware of overindulging: It’s important to keep an eye on what you’re drinking and eating.

– Celebrating with children: This may be a time for your kids to connect with cousins or their friends. You could try to connect them through video calls. Spend more time with them, cook for them, and indulge in some fun activities.

– Maintain traditions: You could try to stick to the traditions that you have in place. Whether it’s making a particular meal, or decorating your home on a certain day, by maintaining these traditions you can create a sense of normality.

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