Diwali 2020 - Guidelines And Ideas For A Safe Diwali
This year Diwali is going to be a different affair. Here is all you need to know about the Government issued safety guidelines and fun ideas for a safe Diwali!
By Kerina De Floras • 8 min read
The festival season is officially under way and coming up in a few days is one of our favourites – the festival of lights! Yes, our faces light up when we realize Diwali is finally here. We can almost smell the tantalizing aroma of sweets wafting through the house, hear the crackling sound of sparklers, and feel the excitement of dressing up as we await the promise of hope after a year of chaos. This year, Diwali is definitely going to be different with the post-lockdown tension still in the air, but who says we cannot have a bit of fun? After all, isn’t the festival about driving away fear and anxiety and celebrating life?
This Diwali, keep your family safe while enjoying the fun and festivities by just following a few safety guidelines. These precautions have been announced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India, for people attending religious events, cultural gatherings, concerts or other mass events during the festival season. While Diwali is all about sharing sweets and love, let us also share the responsibility of keeping each other safe by taking the necessary precautions. Read on to know about the safety guidelines for Diwali this year and how to spruce up your celebrations while staying safe.
Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Directorate General of Health Services have released a statement on standard operating procedures and preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 when taking part in rallies, procession or other cultural events. Here are a few highlights for you.
1. No festivities will be allowed in places marked as containment zones.
2. People above the age of 65, people with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home.
3. In rallies or processions, the number of people must not exceed the prescribed limit. Proper physical distancing and wearing of masks must be ensured.
4. Events planned to last for days or weeks must have a cap on number of people in attendance and restricted timing. The number of people allowed entry must be in accordance with the order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs from time to time.
5. Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of six feet in public places as far as feasible.
6. Respiratory etiquettes must be strictly followed. This includes strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing and disposing used tissues responsibly.
7. Use of face masks is mandatory for everyone. Washing hands with soap and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is encouraged, even when hands are not visibly dirty.
8. Self-monitoring and reporting illness at the earliest to the State or District helpline must be practiced.
9. Spitting in public places is strictly prohibited.
10. Installation and usage of Arogya Setu app is recommended.
11. For entry into religious places, shoes or other footwear should be preferably taken off inside their own vehicle or kept in separate slots by each family.
12. In religious places, touching of statues or idols or holy books, etc., will not be allowed.
13. In view of the potential threat of spread of infection, recorded devotional songs may be played to avoid choir or singing groups.
14. Effective and frequent sanitization of premises must be done, with particular focus on frequently touched surfaces or areas.
Click here for the detailed guidelines.
Updates from States
The national capital is going green this Diwali. In order to keep a check on pollution, Delhi government has only allowed the use of eco-friendly crackers this year. Only ‘green’ firecrackers can be made, sold and used this year. The state government is also planning to launch a green app to reduce air pollution and promote ‘green’ crackers.
In Tamil Nadu, the lockdown has been extended till November 30, with more relaxations. Schools are scheduled to reopen for classes 9 to 12 after Diwali. Theatres, amusement parks and museums are allowed to open with 50 percent capacity from November 10. These relaxations are however not applicable for containment zones and standard operating procedure must be followed in all public places.
The Karnataka Government has allowed the sale of crackers ahead of the Diwali season, from November 1 to 17, this year. According to the guidelines issued by Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar, vendors will be allowed to set up shops for crackers and other items far away from residential areas. Stall owners have been directed to avoid crowding and ensure social distancing among customers. Sanitizers must be provided to customers at entry points and the shops must be sanitized regularly, as per the guidelines.
The West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) has announced that the existing noise cap of 90 decibel on crackers will be in place during this Diwali. All COVID-19 precautions by the state and the Centre will be strictly followed to avoid community spread.
The Rajasthan government, meanwhile, has announced a ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers during the festive season this year. In his tweet, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has mentioned that the poisonous smoke emanating from fireworks is a health hazard for COVID-19 patients as well as those suffering from heart ailments and breathing problems.
How to ensure your family’s safety
Here are a few tips to follow for the safety and well-being of your family, as you come together to celebrate the festival of lights.
Avoid using sanitizers before lighting diyas
Alcohol-based sanitizers are highly inflammable, so it is better to not use them just before you light diyas or crackers. Also, make sure that the sanitizer bottles are at a safe distance from fire.
Keep disinfectant wipes or small soaps handy
Consider carrying water and paper soap wherever you go, as they are much safer without the danger of catching fire.
Maintain social distancing
As much as the festival is about togetherness, try to stick to the new normal and maintain social distancing, even at family gatherings.
Think of it as cleaning for the festival and sanitize your home entirely. Whether you are entertaining guests or not, this will ensure your family stays safe.
Never forget your mask
Ensure the whole family wears masks when stepping out or when meeting new people. Keep the nose and mouth covered when out in public places.
A different Diwali
The precautions and safety guidelines might be overwhelming for the kids at festival time, so here are a few things you can do differently this year. This way you don’t have to miss out on the fun!
Go traditional with earthen diyas
Opt for a more traditional Diwali by lighting earthen diyas and lamps all over your house, instead of LED and electric lights. Let your kids see how you light them and help you with the placement.
Host a rangoli competition
Gather everyone around and sign them up for a rangoli competition. Add a twist – ask everyone to draw the best rangoli under five minutes! Let the family battle it out with beautiful colours.
Choose from tambola, musical chairs, antakshari and other popular games to play with your family after a good Diwali brunch. Soak in the happiness and laughter as you play till the night sets in.
Choose eco-friendly crackers
If you can, choose to spend a cracker-free Diwali, or else go green. Talk to your child about eco-friendly crackers, which make lesser noise but are still high on the fun quotient.
Pick out ‘green’ gifts
This year, go easy on the planet and choose ‘greener’ gifts for your family. Ask kids to choose eco-friendly gifts such as terrariums, kitchen herbs, handmade toiletries, indoor plants, wooden storage boxes, jute bags, solar power bank, aromatherapy oils and more.
Recycle and donate
Diwali is usually the time when you give your home a makeover and discard old, unused things. Teach your kids how to recycle the old items to make décor and for other DIY projects. Donate clothes that don’t fit anymore, instead of throwing them away.
As we continue our battle against the pandemic, we pray that the light and love of the festive season can dispel the darkness and bring hope into our lives.
We wish you all a very safe and a happy Diwali.
About the author:
Written by Kerina De Floras on 4 November 2020.
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