The Situation at Present
A minuscule form of life known as a microorganism has brought the world to its knees. Just think about the power this microbial virus a.k.a. COVID-19 has to alter and affect the very existence of humankind and how it changed the entire world.
Normal events used to be our way of life. We never anticipated in our wildest dreams that all of this would change and we would be struggling to find balance with the new normal influenced by the ongoing pandemic.
Less to Celebrate, More to Fear
It’s not just the way we used to do things earlier like traveling, going to work, visiting friends and families, shopping and vacations. Since the outbreak, our holidays, festivals, partying, and cultural celebrations have also taken the back seat. People have become cautious of going out and celebrating special events. The novel Coronavirus changed everything we used to enjoy, it brought fear into our celebrations, and made us hesitate in welcoming guests at home to spend quality time.
Sooner or later, we will be going back to the life we lived, but not at this moment. The situation is critical, and out of control. To contain the havoc due to the spreading of coronavirus, the government and world leaders spoke about countermeasures and what people should do during Christmas and New Year holidays to stay safe and enjoy themselves with family and friends.
The Word from World Leaders
Joe Biden, President-elect, United States of America
My wife and I will be celebrating holidays with utmost safety measures and as advised by the officials for a gathering with no more than 10 guests who are properly masked and follow social distancing. Biden said, “Anyone at their Thanksgiving gathering would be tested for the virus 24 hours before getting together”. The restrictions may be difficult, but, “I just want to make sure we’re able to be together next Thanksgiving, next Christmas.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech that if we can bring the pandemic under control, the government would “see nearer the time whether we can hope to celebrate the festive season en famille”. As of now, that time hasn’t yet come in most of the countries.
Jean Castex, the Prime Minister of France, also stated that we are hoping that non-essential shops can reopen on December 1. Also, to allow some form of Christmas celebration, the lockdown rules should be relaxed. However, “certainly not like usual” parties “with dozens of people” coming close to each other and forget adhering to the guidelines. He said, “The government would not decide until the end of November to what extent holiday travel within France over the period would be possible”.
People can buy Christmas trees from November 20 onwards, but there is no possibility to reopen restaurants before mid-January. Even churches to hold Christmas mass is not certain.
German chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping that “we’d be able to afford more freedoms at Christmas” only if people abide by the safety measures and rules throughout November. However, there are strong chances of bringing in new regulations that will prohibit seasonal jollies until Heiligabend, the evening of December 24 when citizens traditionally gather for Christmas celebrations.
The German health minister, Jens Spahn said, “If I am being honest, I don’t see big weddings, big birthdays, or even big Christmas parties happening in December or any point this winter.”
The health minister of Spain, Salvador Illa in a meeting with regional health experts has asked them to come up with plans to make Christmas as safe as possible. Spain is still in a state of emergency and overnight curfews are still in force, which means people should not get their hopes up to celebrate Christmas the way they used to. Illa stated, “I think all Spaniards know that this Christmas isn’t going to be like the last one, and we can’t carry on as if nothing’s happened.”
The prime minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte tried to cheer up the children by saying that their Christmas presents would be delivered because Babbo Natale, or Father Christmas, was not under any travel restrictions. Christmas markets are closed in Italy and there are restrictions to travel between regions. The government is also coming up with some guidelines for the festive season that will allow the reopening of markets and restaurants, an hour of relaxation in the night curfew, and outside dinner allowed to only close family members from December 3.
While addressing the nation,Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “It’s frustrating knowing that unless we are really, really careful, there may not be the kinds of family gatherings we want to have at Christmas.” Even the small gatherings during Canada’s Thanksgiving contributed to spreading the Covid-19 virus and increased the number of cases.
Different times need different measures. In times like this, let’s celebrate Christmas and New Year in different ways.
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