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Celebrating Autumn with Friends by Gathering Safely

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Singaporeans love celebrations, especially the mid-autumn festival. But since the pandemic changed the way we celebrate, you certainly haven’t seen all of your friends yet. Chances are you only had dinner with your family on September 21 but wished you had a bigger party.

Thankfully, restaurants now allow fully vaccinated groups of two to five to dine inside their premises. If you and your friends have all got your shots, plan a nice dinner or brunch to catch up. Many restaurants are bursting with irresistible food deals today. Your credit card can let you enjoy free complimentary meals with select orders.

If you or some of your friends aren’t fully vaccinated yet, you’re welcome in hawker centres and open-air coffee shops. However, it’s still highly recommended to stay at home until you get your second shot.

That said, here are the rest of the ways to gather safely this autumn:

1. Choose a Restaurant Where Social Distancing Is Promoted

If you’re going to eat out, ensure that the restaurant you’d choose promotes social distancing. The tables have to be six feet apart from each other and equipped with acrylic partitions. It may reduce the intimacy of your gathering, but better to be safe than to be at risk. After all, the vaccines don’t make you outright immune to COVID-19. It only decreases your chance of getting a severe infection.

Tables without partitions are acceptable if they’re in an open-air location. But consider the risks, still. Try to find out the safety measures the restaurant employs as well. COVID-19 spreads not just through droplets but also through contaminated surfaces and objects, like utensils. Hence, knowing a restaurant’s safety measures is essential for ensuring that you’re at the lowest possible risk.

2. Have a Makeover Session

Since we often celebrate by having a meal, why don’t we change things up and visit a salon instead? In a salon, you and your friends can surely stay apart but still enjoy yourselves. Plus, celebrating a festival with a makeover is undeniably a good idea.

As with a restaurant, find out your chosen salon’s safety measures. You and your hairdresser should both wear masks, as do the rest of the salon’s staff. If you have to wait to be served, remain in the car instead of lining up with a crowd. And to stay at least six feet apart with your friends, meet at the salon in your own transportation.

3. Take a Walk Around the City

Ironically, the outdoors are safer than the indoors during this period. The open air disperses germs and viruses fast, unlike indoor settings, which contain germs and viruses. So if you want to gather with your friends safely, better do it outside.

You can take a leisurely walk around the city. It will stimulate your senses after staying at home for so long. If you want to stick close together, ensure that all of you aren’t just fully vaccinated but tested as well, ideally. However, note that a negative test result doesn’t guarantee zero risks. You may test negative today, then contract the virus tomorrow.

To reduce the chances of that happening, self-isolate after testing negative. Practice health protocols meticulously. Encourage your friends to do the same so that no one has to worry when you meet up.

woman smiling

4. Shelter in Place Before Combining Households

If you choose to gather inside your or one of your friends’ homes, shelter in place before the day of your gathering. Self-isolate, in other words. For two weeks, avoid physical contact with someone outside your household. If you want to get tested for your peace of mind, do that as well. By the time your self-isolation has finished, you are considerably sure that you have no risks of infecting someone. Make sure that your friends will do the same, or your gathering may end in disaster.

5. Opt for a Virtual Celebration

No matter how we try to stay safe during this period, sometimes, we need to run errands outside, exposing ourselves to risks. Plus, it’s virtually impossible for a group of friends to practice the same routine for two weeks, especially if you’re all adults. The odds of one of you getting exposed within the two-week time frame are high.

So while the world is still on high alert, opt for a virtual gathering. For now, it’s the safest way to socialise. You can visit a restaurant or mall when the tide subsides, which is hopefully not far from now. Virtual celebrations can also be fun and creative.

If you must meet in person, acknowledge the risks and make efforts to stay safe. Your precautions will also help your friends stay safe, allowing you to enjoy your gathering without fear and guilt.

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