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COVID-19 And Onam: Celebration Amid The Pandemic; What You Need To Know

The 10-day grand festival of Onam is here - but this time, the celebrations are low-key. This year, the harvest festival began on 12 August and will continue till 23 August. And amidst the pandemic, the Kerala government has opted for muted celebrations and has adopted the virtual route.

As the Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the state, the government officials had stated that "In collaboration with the digital media and television channels, preference will be given to the traditional arts and thereby creating opportunities for artists."

Considering the rising cases, it is inevitable that each of us who are celebrating the harvesting festival takes responsibility to celebrate the COVID-19 norms and regulations. Here are some important guidelines you should consider this Onam season.

COVID-19 Guidelines For Onam

  • Avoid crowding at places, be it your home or your friends' place; the Kerala government has directed that crowding for Onam sadhya is strictly prohibited.
  • Avoid any non-essential travelling; stay home and celebrate responsibly.
  • To ensure food safety, food safety officers will be conducting regular inspections in restaurants.
  • Apart from shops and malls, other businesses should promote online transactions and operate with a 50 per cent capacity.
  • The health department will be assessing the risk of spread of the coronavirus due to the use of fresh flowers for Onam pookalam.
  • Public markets function with a limit on the entry of people, time spent by shoppers, less crowding, and social distancing [1].
  • Malls and supermarkets should promote home delivery of essential items with a minimum purchase limit.
  • Shops shall remain open from 7 am to 9 pm in non-containment zones.

In addition to the guidelines set by the government in containing and preventing an increase in the number of cases, here are some safety measures you should consider [2][3]:

  • Avoid gatherings; however, if you are attending any, keep at least a 1-metre distance from others; wear a mask; avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas; cover coughs and sneezes with bent elbow or tissues, and clean your hands frequently.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Remember that people without symptoms or with a recent negative test result can still spread COVID-19 to others.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place and make sure to dry your hands completely.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid shouting, cheering loudly, or singing.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19 [4].
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, utensils for gatherings, if possible.
  • Limit the number of guests to allow people to remain at least 6 feet apart.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If gathering indoors, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.
  • Have one person serve all the food.
  • Limit crowding in areas where food is served [5].
  • Wash dishes in hot soapy water immediately following the gathering.

On A Final Note...

As the life we knew has changed in recent years, we must adapt to those changes, not just for our own sake but also for others around us. Celebrate responsibly. Happy Onam!

Story first published: Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 9:00 [IST]
Read more about: covid covid 19 onam