COVID-19: New wedding restrictions amid the 2nd wave

Lahore, 9th November: After the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in Pakistan, the government has imposed new restrictions on weddings.

Baaghi TV: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has issued additional guidelines for marriage ceremonies to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

It may be noted that the number of active cases of COVID-19, which was less than 6,000 in September, has increased threefold i.e. 17,804 and 148 ventilators are in use across the country.

According to new guidelines, people present at wedding ceremonies will have to sit at six feet apart. The event timing has been restricted to two hours with a cutoff time of 10 pm.

All guests will have to wear face masks and organisers of marriage events will have to display the seating/gathering capacity of their venues at the entrance/ reception. Moreover, the organisers will have to take a precautionary measure against dengue fever.

Moreover, buffet dinner/lunch has been banned and only lunch boxes and table service have been allowed. The wedding event managers will have to retain the names and contact details of all wedding attendees and staff for at least 15 days.

According to the guidelines, for 1,000 guests an area of 36,000 square feet (200X180 feet) will be required, for 200 guests 85X85 feet and for 100 guests 60X60 feet.

According to the report of Baaghi TV, the new guidelines, which have been prepared by the Health Services Academy, National Institute of Health and Health Planning, Systems Strengthening and Information Analysis Unit, will be implemented from Nov 20 onwards in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Hyderabad, Gilgit, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Peshawar, Quetta, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Bahawalpur and Swat.

The draft of the guidelines, states that public gatherings are a potential risk for the COVID-19 infection and community transmission in the area.

Therefore, wedding events during the pandemic should be organised while taking care of the precautions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to minimise the chances of spread of the virus.

It may be remembered that on Nov 6, the NCOC had announced Rs100 fine on violation of wearing a mask, allowed only outdoor marriages with a maximum limit of 1,000 persons and the policy of work from home for 50 per cent of the staff of all public/private offices.

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