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Coronavirus: New clarifications regarding Christmas events

ministry of health

The health ministry on Friday issued more clarifications, this time specifically about Christmas events, following its decree tightening some measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

From Monday December 6 to January 10, all school Christmas celebrations are suspended while Christmas events organised by other bodies will require special permission from the ministry of health.

In a new written statement, the ministry stressed that while venues such as bars, cafes and restaurants are allowed to operate in accordance with the decree, any events that are unrelated to their usual operations, such as dancing, karaoke, bingo, or children’s events with Santa Claus will not be permitted.

“These will be considered special events, which the health ministry will under no circumstances approve,” as they all pose a high transmission risk.

The ministry added that licensed venues like theatres, amphitheatres and cinemas will be allowed to go ahead with performances as long as they follow the relevant protocols (found here) and refrain from encouraging the spread of the virus.

Therefore, any actions unrelated to usual operations, like allowing spectators to leave their seats or join performers onstage, are not allowed.

As regards promotional actions and the sale of raffle tickets by charities and NGOs inside or outside shops and churches, these will not be considered special events and will not require special permission as long as they follow the ministry’s guidelines.

These include limiting the duration of the event to up to two hours and only using one to two tables with up to two people who must wear masks, sanitise their hands and practise social distancing.

In addition, crews must pick areas that are not likely to become overcrowded, with any members counting towards the maximum visitor limit for the shop the action is taking place in.

Tables must also provide antibacterial hand gel and demarcate the space around them to make sure the public is keeping distance and can only access the table from one side, to avoid overcrowding.

“Any other events not covered by the above will require approval,” the ministry said, adding it can reject proposals that are vague on what kind of activities they will include or how protocols will be followed, or ask organisers to clarify.

Applications must be emailed to [email protected]

The ministry said that the attendee limit for individual events with social distancing will be 350 people, not including employees, as long as they don’t mingle with the public.

This will be raised to 500 if everyone present can prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid, or that they were ill with the virus in the past six months.

“Organisers will bear full responsibility for following the guidelines laid out by the decree,” requiring staff to “discretely monitor visitors for any breaches to the rules” and only intervene in extreme cases.

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