PRE-PANDEMIC, several business establishments would have already been decked out with Christmas-themed decors at around this time. Parols, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, wreaths, Santa Clause, and the Nativity scene could be seen everywhere.
On top of the Christmas decors, festivity would be felt as businesses conduct their Christmas parties, friends have dinners, and families conduct their family reunions.
Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic will affect the usual festive Christmas celebrations in our country. Caroling has been discouraged, churches are urged to hold Christmas masses online or control the number of individuals attending, and gatherings have been discouraged, among others. All of these are being enforced in a bid to control and limit the spread of the disease.
Health authorities and the government are expecting an increase in Covid-19 cases by January 2021 due to the urge of some individuals to gather in groups.
What is sad about the Christmas celebrations amid the pandemic is some families will not be complete. Families that have been affected by the Covid-19 will be celebrating with fewer family members. The pandemic has already claimed 8,418 lives across the country in the last nine months.
In Davao Region, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 361 individuals.
Others will not be able to make it home this Christmas. For those outside their hometowns and living in high-risk areas, they are wary to go home for the possibility of being asymptomatic or may catch the virus on their way home. The last thing we want to happen is family members catching the virus.
There is also the issue of the varying documentary and health requirements for those planning to return to their respective hometowns.
According to the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) as of November 19, 2020, local government units (LGUs) are given allowed to put in place regulations that would control the entry of people to their towns or municipalities.
Those who are working remotely will also have to consider how they will ensure that they will still be able to still work despite being put under a 14-day quarantine. The internet connection or the speed and signal for mobile internet has to be considered. Some will also have to re-assign work to other team members if the signal for mobile internet or the internet connection is slow or non-existent.
Others will also have to think about how they will return to the areas where they work. They will have to compile another set of documentary requirements and undergo another duration of the 14-day quarantine.
There are also the frontliners who may not be able to return home due to fears that they could infect their family members. It will not be easy for them to return home despite still being in the same city as with their family.
The Christmas season during the Covid-19 pandemic will be a different one. The pandemic has cast a shadow on what should be a festive celebration in the country.
However, despite all these, we can still celebrate with our families, albeit being away from them, through the use of digital technology. We can still celebrate our love for one another and having survived the last nine months. We can still be thankful for the blessings we encountered along the way.