‘Going home for the holidays’ has become synonymous with this time of the year, but 2020 has thrown us a curveball. Families now have several factors to consider before going on holiday or deciding to attend this year’s family Christmas lunch.
The increase in COVID-19 cases particularly in the Eastern and Western Cape has local authorities in these regions calling on residents to re-consider all non-essential gatherings and to avoid crowded and confined spaces at all costs.
At the same time some provinces are facing a potential short-term lockdown possibly affecting planned festive season activities and holiday plans for residents and visitors.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, if we exercise critical responsibility and mindfulness as we take a break and celebrate the end of what has been an extremely challenging year, we can still get to spend time with family.
“The actions of individuals and families bears the potential to change the scenario,” says Emma Corder, Managing Director of industrial cleaning products manufacturer Industroclean.
This year, while spending time with family, the number one rule is that you should not let your guard down.
“You can offer peace of mind and take control to reduce the spread of the virus by ensuring you welcome family into your home that offers a clean and hygienic setting,” Corder added.
Simple ways to avoid hosting a family gathering that turns out to be a ‘super-spreader’ event is to reconsider guest numbers. Remember more people pose more risk and individuals from different households will be coming together in one space.
Also, consider your guest’s exposure during travel on public transport and airports and that you are not familiar to their behaviour before the gathering, i.e. do they regularly adhere to social distancing and good hand hygiene practices.
Ways to contain the spread during family gatherings;
· While it may be difficult, especially after long periods of isolation, limit or avoid hugs and handshakes and insist that guests sanitise their hands-on arrival
· Ask guests to store masks on themselves when removing these for eating and to not leave these lying around the home
· Keep windows and doors open to ensure good ventilation at all times
· Frequently clean high traffic zones like the kitchen and bathroom
· Wear a mask while preparing food and have one person, wearing a mask serve all meals to prevent multiple people handling serving utensils
· Regularly wash down and disinfect high-touch surfaces like taps, toilet flush handles and doorknobs
· Cutlery and glassware should be thoroughly washed with soap and hot water immediately after use. Alternatively, consider using single-use items.
· Replace regular handtowels with paper towels.
· Consider hosting your event outdoors
Extra attention should be paid when cleaning your home in preparation for guest’s stay over;
· A good place to start is to invest in quality cleaning products
· Thoroughly clean the rooms in which guests will be staying over, paying attention to surfaces such as windows, mirrors, and door handles.
· Wash curtains and bedding shortly before guest’s arrival and consider using protectors for pillows and mattresses.
· Regularly clean the bathroom and kitchen and wipe down high-touch surfaces
· Use double bin liners in litter baskets and wear disposable gloves when removing these
· Stock bathrooms with enough soap and, or hand sanitiser
· Guests should launder their own clothing and masks and store luggage away from common areas