Australians have well and truly earned themselves a Christmas celebration this year. But those fortunate to get a break over the holidays’ are being encouraged to keep their celebrations COVID-19 safe.
Here is a look at what that means:
In Victoria and New South Wales, those hitting the pavement this week in a mad dash to get last-minute gifts are being urged to wear masks, avoid crowded retail centres and maintain physical distancing.
“This year we’re asking people to avoid crowded shopping centres,” NSW health representative Dr Chatu Yapa said this week.
“If the shopping centre is too crowded, you should consider returning at an off-peak time, doing your gift shopping online or shopping locally at community businesses.”
With borders open and low case numbers, authorities are worried people will become complacent over the Christmas period. Everyone is being asked to use QR codes when they check-in.
“It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask and minimise time spent inside shops if you can’t physically distance,” Dr Yapa said.
“If you’re unwell, please don’t go shopping. Stay home and get tested immediately.”
The big feast:
The Food Safety Information Council chair Cathy Moir said that this Summer and Christmas time is going to be a particular challenge as we also have to be aware of COVID-19 safety requirements as well as the usual need to be extra careful with food safety practices.
“Before arranging your Christmas and summer gatherings, health authorities advise to make sure you are aware of any local COVID-19 restrictions on the number of people allowed,” Ms Moir said.
“If you or anyone in your household is unwell or have cold or flu symptoms, cancel the event, stay home and get tested.
“Don’t forget to contact your guests just before the event to check they are feeling well and ask them not to attend if they are unwell. It’s also good sense to make a list of anyone who did attend.”
Here are a few other COVID-19 specific tips from health authorities:
- Have plenty of hand-washing facilities and hand sanitiser available to help maintain good hand hygiene. Put out paper towels for hand drying if you have a lot of guests or make sure you regularly change towels to make sure they are clean and dry.
- While COVID-19 isn’t likely to be spread via food it can be spread on surfaces. When meeting in social groups or with work colleagues don’t share food or drinks, this includes no communal sharing of crockery, glasses and cutlery (and no double-dipping!).
- You may want to serve up individual plates of food rather than let people serve themselves.
- Set up seating to help people keep their distance and, if the weather permits, you may prefer to entertain outside where there is more space.
How many people can you have?
Each state and territory has a different number of guests allowed over at one time. Here is a quick rundown of how many people you’re allowed to invite for ham.
QLD: Gathering at home is capped at 50, including the members of the household. Venues are allowed one person per two square metres.
NSW: Those in New South Wales can currently have 20 visitors to their home and venues are taking bookings of up to 30.
VIC: In Victoria, 30 people are allowed at each home on Christmas Day. Venues are allowed one person for every two square metres and no more than 30 in total.
ACT: There is no cap on how many people you have over, but it is advised everyone stays 1.5 metres away from each other.
TAS: Those in Tasmanian can have up to 40 guests over in thier homes, and venues are allowed 250 people in an undivided indoor space.
SA: In South Australia, 10 people can be at a home, including those that live there and 50 can be at a venue.
WA: One person per two square metre rule applies to gatherings, no matter where they take place – in the home or in a venue.
NT: Much like the ACT, there are no limits on how many guests you can have over at homes, or in venues.