Mumbai: As we celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, there is one unwelcome guest, who we would rather keep out of our homes — the dreaded coronavirus. In a best-case scenario, celebrate this festival with members of your household. But if you must visit your friends or relatives, here are some handy things to remember to keep everyone, especially the elders and vulnerable people, safe.
Mask up: We all know how effective wearing a mask during the pandemic is in minimising Covid-19 transmission. Make sure you put your own mask on before you remind others to do the same. Continue wearing your mask if you’re with people who you don’t usually live with. This minor inconvenience is worth it, especially if someone hasn’t been able to have both doses of the vaccine or has a condition that makes them vulnerable.
Hand hygiene: Wash your hands frequently, whether it’s before you perform aarti, partake prasad or eat food. Avoid touching any surfaces, and if you must, carry a sanitiser so that you cleanse your hands after. Sanitisers are alcohol-based and therefore highly flammable, so avoid placing your hands too close to a flame after sanitising your hands.
Food and gifts hygiene: If you’re serving food, it is preferable to serve it hot. Use gloves and disposable paper plates where possible. Do not share utensils or spoons. It’s best to sanitise any offerings/gifts you may be taking to a relative’s home and help your hosts by placing them where they can be easily identified.
Social distancing: This is an absolute must. Make sure you maintain social distancing all the while. Do not remove your mask while conversing. While greeting your loved ones, a namaste or fist bump instead of a hug is ideal.
Ensure ventilation: Gathering in a completely closed room is not a good idea. Try and keep a window open for fresh air to circulate as it reduces the chances of the virus spreading.
The BMC has done a great job of putting together guidelines for safe Covid-safe visarjans. Check out the website https://shreeganeshvisarjan.com, which has a form to seek permission, although it only covers certain wards. If you’re in one of the other wards, look out for the local guidance in your area. Whilst no one wants to miss seeing Bappa off, minimise the risk of infection by limiting numbers, avoid crowding and adhere to BMC’s guideline of 5 people for private households and 10 people for Mandals.
Lastly, remain mindful and continue to practice the usual hygiene measures, avoid touching your face, eyes or nose. It’s easy to get carried away in a festive atmosphere, but remaining mindful will help you keep your guard up and prevent any risk of infection. Stay safe and help others around you stay safe too. Let us pledge to keep the third wave at bay this Ganesh Chaturthi. Enjoy yourself responsibly and keep your family and your city healthy.