Posted on 11/02/2021 by Paula Formantes
The first day of the Chinese New Year (CNY) will fall on 12th February this year, and like all things during the pandemic, the festive season will look wildly different from what we are used to.
As a precaution, Singapore has capped the number of visitors per household to just eight people per day. This rule kicked in last week (26th Jan ). Following the announcement, that enforcement officers will do random spot checks to enforce the new rule on household visits.
Those celebrating have also been urged to visit only two houses per day. These are just some of the things you must consider if you are planning to invite your co-workers to your house for a CNY gathering – for a ‘reunion’ meal or even a team ‘lohei’ session.
Speaking of the traditional activities to chime in the New Year and attract some ‘huat’, or prosperity, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and their tripartite partners have warned against organizing social gatherings altogether.
As we approach CNY, we also remind companies that they should not organize gatherings and social activities such as lohei or CNY meals, as these are not considered work-related events, and are therefore not allowed.
What to consider for CNY 2021
Even if Singapore currently seems like it has got the COVID situation under control, the Ministry of Health urged residents to stay vigilant and released a detailed list of do’s and don’ts for the festive season. Some of them include:
- When dining out, wear a mask if you are not eating or drinking
- Face masks must be also worn during the tossing of yusheng – or lohei
- Limit house visits to family members only
- Limit the number of visitors to eight people per day
- The lohei should be done without any verbalization of the usual auspicious phrases
- Do not visit more than two other houses per day
- Avoid multiple table bookings when dining out for the reunion meal – the only exception is for those from the same household, but strictly no inter-mingling across tables
- Singing and other live performances are not allowed at F&B establishments and work-related events where food is served
The authorities will step up enforcement checks at F&B establishments, malls, and other crowded public spaces during this period. Strict penalties will be taken against individuals and operators who do not comply with prevailing safe management measures. Errant individuals can expect fines and even prosecution in court, depending on the severity of the offense.
Let us be mentally prepared that CNY this year will not be the same as before, it will be quieter [and] more subdued. And we will have to be more disciplined in how we go about our daily activities and interactions.
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