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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 14: Lion and dragon dances, open houses, house-to-house visits, celebrations at temples or public places, and organisation of gatherings by associations are not allowed during the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) yesterday released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the Chinese New Year celebrations which will fall on Feb 1 and 2 this year. The detailed guidelines can be found on http://sarawakdisastermc.com.
The Chinese community will ring in the Chinese New Year in a scaled down manner for the second year under the Covid-19 cloud as authorities are taking serious measures to prevent the spread of the infection fueled by the fast-spreading Omicron variant.
On Chinese New Year Eve, which falls on Jan 31, only immediate and close family members can gather for the reunion dinner. The number of people must be capped at 50 per cent capacity according to the size of the house and compound.
Family reunion gatherings in hotels or restaurants should also be limited to close family members and must comply with the SOPs for the food and beverage sector issued by the Ministry for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government.
Celebration is only allowed on the first day of Chinese New Year and these restrictions also apply, including physical distancing measures of at least one metre.
It is also compulsory for house owners to have a temperature or thermal scanner and QR code for MySejahtera check-ins or manual recording of attendance of visitors with information including names, telephone numbers, date, and time.
They should also ensure that seating arrangements in the house comply with physical distancing measures of at least one metre.
These restrictions and procedures are also applied for Chap Goh Mei which falls on Feb 15.
Prayer ceremonies at temples or houses of worship are also required to follow the SOPs issued by Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), while Chinese New Year bazaars will need to adhere to SOPs issued by the Ministry for Public Health, Housing, and Local Government.
Apart from the basic SOPs, people are also reminded to avoid physical contact including hand shaking, always wearing face masks, and frequently washing hands or using sanitisers.
SDMC also encouraged people to undertake rapid antigen self-tests before visiting their families. ― DayakDaily