Strict guidelines have been set out for this year’s Phagwah celebrations to prohibit gatherings at events and on vehicles, in order to keep the population safe in times of the coronavirus pandemic.
The festival is marked for March 28, but the measures are to be followed for any activity related to the celebrations.
In a statement issued by the Health Ministry, it was indicated that large events involving hundreds of persons are not allowed, along with gatherings on trucks, canters or other vehicles. Temples are to operate at 40 per cent capacity and are asked to utilise outdoor spaces.
“Phagwah events at the mandirs, including cultural programmes, chowtaal samelan and satsangh/services, are allowed at 40 per cent capacity. Mandirs are encouraged to utilise their outdoor spaces where available. Socially distanced gatherings for the burning of Holika are allowed.”
Persons were encouraged to celebrate within their home circle. Meanwhile, masks must be worn at all times with six feet social distancing maintained and frequent hand washing.
In the previous years, the festival has been known to attract Guyanese in the masses, culminating at various locations across the country. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a super-spreader and can see cases rising if persons fail to adhere to precautions.
Apart from these specific measures, the national COVID-19 emergency measures are also in place, warranting full compliance. The national curfew remains in place from 22:30h to 04:00h (04:00 am to 10:30 pm) for the month of March.
Restrictions remain in place on visiting, hosting, or attending private parties, wakes, clubs, receptions, and any other social activity, including going to the cinema.
Persons are still required to wear a mask, covering the nose and mouth, when in public. However, exemptions are given to children under the age of eight; where a person is in a vehicle, vessel or aircraft alone; and any other accommodation alone. (G12)