BACOLOD CITY – Face-to-face caroling is prohibited during the Christmas holidays while exchanging of gifts is also discouraged during gatherings as part of the city government’s continuing response to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
These are part of the guidelines on the conduct of Christmas and New Year gatherings and other merry-making activities provided in Executive Order 81 issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Wednesday night.
“There is a need to finalize the particular guidelines on the holiday season amidst the Covid-19 pandemic so people may celebrate safely and with vigilance,” Leonardia said in the directive.
According to EO 81, the health measures should be observed for the holiday season effective immediately.
“Traditional caroling or the act of going house to house to sing Christmas carols is prohibited,” it said.
EO 81 added that caroling is “only allowed when this activity is done virtually or through online means, or by family members living in the same household and that the act is conducted within the confines of their homes.”
Moreover, “(e)veryone is strongly encouraged to conduct Christmas and New Year gathering with attendees limited to members of the family living in the same household. Work or non-family related Christmas parties or gatherings are highly discouraged,” it said.
Also, “families not living in the same household who wish to get together (should hold) gathering outdoors and with a proper observance of physical distancing.”
“Virtual get-togethers and Christmas and New Year parties or gatherings held within the premises of one’s home are highly encouraged,” it said.
During the gathering, it is encouraged that there should be one person assigned to serve the food, and multiple people touching the serving spoon and plates should be avoided.
“It is best to keep the number of people preparing the food to the minimum. Face masks and face shields should be worn when preparing, serving, and getting food,” it added.
EO 81 also stated that “(i)f possible, refrain from gift exchanges. However, if extremely necessary, place disinfectants and rubbing alcohol nearby and practice proper hand hygiene before and after opening presents.”
For persons or establishments intending to conduct gift-giving, they must ensure that standard health protocols such as wearing of face masks and face shields and strict physical distancing are strictly observed.
Recipients of non-perishable gifts and packages are highly encouraged to wait at least three to five days before opening the same as the Covid-19 virus can still be present on the surfaces during this time.
They are also advised to sanitize gifts they receive and practice hand hygiene after opening the same, part of the guidelines said. (PNA)