As we enter the holiday season, after months of isolation, economic anxiety and pandemic fatigue, it’s understandable that people are yearning for the comforts that come with Christmas time; travelling to see family and friends, hosting Christmas parties and sharing meals.
However, with the second wave of COVID-19 upon us, brushing off masks and social distancing can have serious consequences that extend far outside of your own circle. While the majority of cases remain mild, an asymptomatic person can still contribute to spreading the virus and put others at risk.
Ultimately, the best advice would be to stay home for the festive season but if you are planning to go away or have a small, intimate gathering then it’s vital to follow the COVID-19 safety measures at all times. This means:
- Keep the number of guests to a minimum
- Host in an outdoor setting
- Ensure everyone has sanitised or washed their hands
- Maintain social distancing
- Wear a mask
It’s also important to stay updated on the latest lockdown rules and regulations as these aim to slow the spread of the virus. According to the latest gazette that came into effect on 14 December, new measures and lockdown restrictions have been implemented at a national and district level. Some key changes are:
- Notification of hotspots by all district municipalities of an increase in COVID-19 cases
- Curfew: every person is confined to their place of residence from 23h00 until 4h00
- Gatherings: these are limited to 100 persons or less in an indoor gathering and 250 persons or less in the case of an outdoor gathering
- Beach closures: Eastern Cape & Garden Route District: closed from 16 December 2020 until 3 January 2021; KwaZulu-Natal beaches are closed 25, 26 and 31 December 2020 and 1, 2 and 3 January 2021; Northern Cape and Western Cape (excluding the Garden Route District beaches) will be open to the public; Festivals, live music, live performances and loud music at beaches are prohibited.
- Sale of Alcohol: this will be permitted from 10am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday and not on public holidays.
We are in difficult, frustrating times but by staying home it means putting the health and safety of our families, friends and community first, which is a gift of kindness and love that we can offer. It also means we may need to get more creative with how we celebrate our holidays while reminding ourselves of the good things we do have. Take care South Africa, it’s up to us to act responsibility and be safe.