By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Dec. 2: The Nepali month of Mangsir (mid-November to mid-December) is the time for many young men and women to find their life partners or to tie their nuptial knots. Banquet halls were seen packed with a string of marriages and the invitees attending them in the auspicious moments over the past two weeks of Mangsir. And more are on the way. Hundreds of people are found to be gathering in these wedding ceremonies across the country and most of them are seen flouting the health safety protocols.
“We request everyone attending marriage ceremonies in a hall to abide by health safety measures, to wear masks and maintain social distance. However, that are generally brushed off by the celebrants,” said a banquet’s supervisor at Koteshwor.
According to the supervisor, they have strictly implemented health safety measures among their employees since the celebrants flouted it unashamedly and freely. “In a marriage on Monday, the groom’s family came from Morang while the bride was from Koteshwor. The two groups greeted and celebrated without masks but we were in no position to complain,” said the supervisor on condition of anonymity.
The scenario has been no different across the country. In a marriage ceremony nearby Kamalpokhari on Tuesday, hundreds were present in a hall, and they greeted, talked and danced without masks. “Marriage ceremonies during the last year were performed cautiously as restriction orders were in place. There were only a few people from the sides of both bride and groom. But now the situation is quite different, despite the fact that the pandemic is still a major concern,” said Santosh, Manager of a banquet in Kamalpokhari.
When some celebrants in the marriage at Kamalpokhari were asked the reason for not wearing masks, they shared reasons like: I am vaccinated, I know them, it is a wedding ceremony, COVID-19 cases have declined, and others. Health experts have said that flouting health safety measures after lifting of the restrictions is the major shortcoming of Nepali people. “The pandemic is still here. Only recently, a potentially deadlier variant was identified. Yes, several pandemic restrictions have been lifted, but we are still at grave risk. So, we must continue abiding by the safety measures,” said Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun, Chief medical officer at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.
Doctors stress that people still need to wear masks, wash hands regularly and maintain social distance. Meanwhile, concerned authorities informed that they awaited a directive from the COVID-19 Crisis Management Coordination Centre (CCMCC).
“If the CCMCC directs the necessity of restriction orders, we will take necessary steps through the district’s CCMC. We have lifted the restrictions for now, but have not permitted public to flout health safety measures,” said Govinda Prasad Rijal, Chief District Officer of Kathmandu.
Rijal added that they had directed event venues to strictly implement health safety measures at all occasions. The concerned authorities argued that the public must abide by health safety measures as the rise in COVID-19 cases would lead to re-enforcement of restriction order and it is the general public who would be affected the most.
“The general public’s role is critically important during pandemic. People need to understand that following health safety measures is a must to keep the pandemic at bay,” said Dr. Pun.