The onset of Christmas fun hasn’t been as joyful as we would like it to be. With the pandemic looming over our heads, feeling merry and bright may not be easy for everyone. Because of the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, travel plans have been stalled, trips keep getting cancelled, and the holiday season is not as festive and seems quieter, this year. In fact, many of us may even be isolating and not have the opportunity to spend it with family and friends due to safety norms that are to be followed.
Governments and scientists all over the world are evaluating ways and means by which families should celebrate Christmas and New Year during this pandemic, or if they should attempt to do it at all. They fear that removing tight rules and relaxing restrictions might lead to another spike in the number of cases, as a lot of countries are already going through the second wave.
While planning how to celebrate the holidays through virtual parties or small gatherings, inviting local family members and friends who consistently follow safety measures have the least risk factors involved.
If you are organizing or considering attending a holiday gathering, make sure you check if state or local health and safety laws and regulations are being followed.
It's also important to consider the unique risks that will be posed in such a situation like-
- The current levels of COVID-19 in your local community- Before hosting your friends during the festive season, one must always check the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their locality. The greater the rates, the higher the risk of the infection spreading among the guests.
- Where the event is being held- Outdoor gatherings are safest. If the weather is conducive, it is ideal to celebrate in your backyard or in a park. For indoor gatherings, not using air conditioners and opening windows, doors, etc., can ensure proper ventilation and help lower the risk factor.
- The duration of the event- It helps if the event is short as it poses a significantly lower risk than longer events.
- The number of attendees- greater the number of guests, greater the risk. Keeping the guest list small and restricting it only to people who live locally would be a prudent safety precaution. It is also important to ensure that there is enough room for the guests to socially distance themselves while attending your event.
- Recent travel history of the attendees- Having been to airports, train stations, bus stations, and even public transportation can expose guests to the virus.
- Safety measures followed by the guests- Gatherings with guests who don't follow safety measures before or during the event poses a high risk. Safety measures include avoiding close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters), wearing masks, and washing hands.
All these parameters must be considered while planning your holiday gathering and if at any point you feel there is a breach in the rules, or are generally uncomfortable with the levels of risk, cancel the event, postpone it or conduct it virtually.
Make sure to not attend parties, with or by anyone who
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and hasn't finished their quarantine period
- Has symptoms of COVID-19
- Is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
The holiday safety measures don’t just end with covid-19 protection. One must also be mindful of the following.
Accidents caused due to Weather Conditions
During cold temperatures, motorists and car drivers are urged to slow down and be cautious of fog and snow, especially on or near bridges and overpasses. It is times like these when even a normal road becomes heavily accident-prone.
During festivities, people tend to decorate their homes with candles, lamps, and lights. It is important to never leave burning candles unattended or sleep in a room with a lit candle. Make sure the candles are on stable surfaces and try and avoid lighting one near your Christmas tree. Wreaths, wrapping paper, and alcohol are highly flammable and could cause hazardous accidents if one is not careful.
Do Not Drink and Drive
Approximately 1,000 people in India are booked for alcohol-related crashes every holiday season. Even if you are not hosting parties this year, and are just going on long drives with your friends be sure to not drink and drive.
The holiday season also brings with it the increased risk of scams, burglaries, and theft. If you’re out shopping while following the necessary regulations, please take valuables, such as purses and cell phones, with you instead of leaving them inside your vehicle. If you’re having packages delivered to your home, take adequate steps to avoid becoming a victim of online scams and package thefts. If possible, have your packages delivered to a place where they can be received in person, while being socially distanced.
Covid-19 Protection Through Insurance
Even though Christmas celebrations won’t be the same this year, one can still imbibe its spirit within the established protocol. Since the risk of spread increases exponentially during the festive season, it is also advisable to make sure you are covered with a comprehensive health insurance plan or a COVID-19 cover that can protect you in case things go awry.
If you already have an insurance policy, some of the expenses that are covered are pre-hospitalization care, consultation, and diagnostics. All the expenses will be settled by the insurance provider according to the terms and conditions of the policy. Therefore, it is immensely advantageous for you to fully understand and clarify everything about your requirements beforehand.
If you are someone who doesn’t have a health insurance policy in place yet, it is recommended that you get one soon, especially during these times.
While selecting the policy, consult an expert, and take into account the kind of coverage you need along with other material information like the stipulated waiting period for the plan.
Make sure to take all these guidelines into consideration, stay safe, and begin your new year with positivity and good health.