A WEEK ago, Mayor Edgardo Labella announced the cancellation of the Christmas party for Cebu City Hall employees this year. He said he will realign, instead, the P4-million party budget to assist those displaced during this pandemic.
I laud the mayor for this move.
At this time, Christmas parties are highly inappropriate with global measures that recommend physical distancing and masking to contain the pandemic. The medical community has not been remiss in reminding the public to eat alone, whenever possible, at work.
People from different households eating together is a high-risk activity. And what is a Christmas party but an activity that necessarily involves the congregation of revelers from different households to socialize and eat together.
At this time, company-wide Christmas parties would truly be a weapon of mass infection if not, destruction.
Yes, the virus is still here. Do not, for one moment, think that it’s gone. We have flattened the curve in Cebu City. But let’s keep it that way. Let’s not be complacent and converge during the holidays only to suffer through a second wave as we enter 2021.
We have seen the pattern in other countries. Let’s learn from their mistakes. Let’s start 2021 right—safe, healthy and grateful for what we have and who we have in our lives.
I know that parties, reunions and social gatherings are huge in our country. However, I urge everyone, in the spirit of Christmas, to make this noble sacrifice and cancel all Christmas parties this year.
The mayor has set a very good example for all of us. I urge the corporate community to follow suit. Cancel your Christmas parties. It is your social as well as moral responsibility to keep your employees, their families as well as the community safe.
I am not trying to kill the holiday spirit. But I do urge you to kill your desire to gather in groups during the holidays, that is if you want to keep your friends and family members, healthy and alive until the New Year and beyond.
I call on business owners to channel their Christmas party budgets to more appropriate causes. Distribute Christmas care packages to those who have lost jobs and incomes this year or apportion the Christmas party budget to all your employees through gifts in cash and in kind.
Families can continue to celebrate the holidays together if they belong to one household. If they don’t, it’s probably best to send over Noche Buena, Christmas or New Year food packages to loved ones instead of gathering as a family to celebrate.
I know it’s hard. And the temptation is great. But is it really worth the risk of celebrating together this year and celebrating with an empty chair next year?
We can still spread holiday cheer though we may have to do it differently this year.