This year’s Chinese New Year will be a little different from previous years’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe distancing measures and restrictions are still in force, so celebrations will have to be muted, and people will have to be more mindful when shopping for goodies.
However, that should not detract from the spirit of Chinese New Year or prevent people from reconnecting with loved ones over the festive season. The rules have been designed to minimise chances of transmission while still allowing people to celebrate with loved ones.
Safe Distancing Rules for CNY 2021
The following rules must be observed before, after and during the Chinese New Year period:
Receive not more than 8 visitors per household per day
You can have a maximum of eight people visit your home per day, regardless of whether they are on the property at the same time. This means you should plan in advance which guests to receive on each day of the Chinese New Year, and also check with friends and relatives before showing up at their homes.
Do not visit more than 2 households per day
In order to limit contact, each person should not visit more than two households per day over the Chinese New Year period. On the bright side, not having to rush from home to home means you’ll get to spend more quality time with the people you do visit.
When dining out, wear a mask when not eating or drinking
Some families prefer to head to a restaurant for their reunion dinner gatherings. If that’s what you plan to do, don’t forget to wear your mask whenever you are not eating or drinking. In addition, everyone at the table must be wearing a mask during the tossing of yusheng, which must be done without the utterance of auspicious phrases.
No multiple table bookings
When making a reservation at a restaurant, you may not book multiple tables unless all diners are from the same household. No inter-mingling across tables is allowed even if diners are from the same household.
How to Stay Safe While Receiving Visitors at Home This CNY 2021
In addition to adhering to the safe distancing measures, here are some tips for keeping you and your visitors safe when hosting this Chinese New Year.
Direct visitors to the bathroom upon arrival
After greeting your guests at the door, politely direct them to the bathroom where they can wash their hands with soap and water.
Make hand sanitiser readily available
To encourage visitors to sanitise their hands from time to time, display bottles of hand sanitiser prominently in areas frequented by your guests, such as the dining room or living room.
Make sure your home is well-ventilated
The virus spreads more easily in poorly-ventilated spaces, so it is a good idea to keep your windows open and turn on the fan. You might want to avoid using air-conditioning as it can impede ventilation. If you live on the ground floor or in landed property, you can consider hosting your guests in the garden or on the terrace.
Offer spaced-out seating arrangements
Give your guests more breathing room by spacing out seating arrangements. If your living room or dining room lacks space, you can rethink the layout or temporarily shift some furniture into your bedrooms in order to give your guests more space. Also make sure there is enough seating so your guests do not resort to squeezing on the sofa. Foldable chairs and plastic stools can be a good form of makeshift seating.
Serve individual portions of food and drinks
In order to minimise cross-contamination, avoid displaying large servings of snacks and drinks or having your guests serve themselves, opting instead for individual portions that you prepare personally for your guests. At mealtime, instead of having everyone dip into communal dishes with their cutlery, include serving spoons with each dish.
Skip the steamboat
Steamboat is a popular and fun way to feed your guests at reunion dinner, but this year you might want to skip it as there is too much risk of cross-contamination. If you really want to do steamboat, one alternative is to include serving spoons and communal chopsticks and instruct everyone not to dip their personal chopsticks into the pot.
Space out your guests’ visits
If you are receiving guests from multiple households, space out their visits so they do not all arrive at the same time. This will enable you to ensure that everyone has adequate space, and make it easier for you to clean and disinfect the space after each group’s departure.
Clean and disinfect after the guests leave
After the departure of your guests, vacuum the floors, disinfect the furniture and air out the space by opening your windows. You should also take care to wash your hands thoroughly after clearing and doing the dishes.
Keep the volume down
Talking loudly can transmit the virus, so remind your guests keep their voices down this Chinese New Year. Playing soothing music at a low volume in the background can generate a more tranquil mood and encourage people to speak more softly.
Use the Lohei app
Your server is no longer allowed to recite the litany of auspicious phrases when dishing out yusheng. Whether you’re tossing yusheng at home or at a restaurant, use DJ Beng’s Lohei app to hear a recording of the auspicious exclamations.
Use technology to stay in touch with those who can’t visit
You might not be able to see certain friends and family members due to the caps on the number of visitors. In addition, friends and family living overseas might not make it home this year due to the curbs on international travel. But thanks to technology such as video chat apps, you can stay in touch with those loved ones who cannot be with you physically.
Happy Chinese New Year of the Ox, from PropertyGuru
PropertyGuru warmly wishes you health and wealth in the coming Year of the Ox! We are leaving behind a trying year, but are thankful that we can still celebrate with loved ones. Remember to stay safe and healthy!
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