As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, experts are encouraging social distancing and self-isolation if possible. So what does that mean for any major events or milestones you might have had planned? We spoke to an expert to find out.
Should I cancel my wedding?
Yes, if there are more than 100 guests. Non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people were banned on 18 March by the government. An indoor gathering refers to something in a single enclosed area that is substantially enclosed by a roof and walls.
Although it’s still legally permitted for non-essential gatherings of under 100 people to go ahead, health experts are advising this is not a good idea.
“I would not be hosting or attending any large social event at this time,” Dr Fiona Stanaway, clinical epidemiologist at The University of Sydney School of Public Health, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“We need to reduce the risk of infection. At the moment that means it’s safest to cancel events. This will slow the spread and protect others, especially older people.”
If I do cancel my wedding, will I get my money back?
It depends on the supplier. It’s unlikely wedding insurance will cover cancelling due to coronavirus.
However, many venues and suppliers are suggesting guests postpone or downsize, rather than completely cancel their wedding.
If I don’t cancel my wedding, what precautions should I take?
“Contact all suppliers and staff who are working at the event and get them to confirm they have nobody working who has been to an infected country within the last 14 days, been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or are feeling unwell themselves,” says Dr Stanaway.
“Maintain social distancing. Ideally guests should stay 1.5 metres away from each other. This means, no kissing, hugging or shaking hands. Cough in to your elbow or a tissue instead of your hand.”
“Wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible throughout the event. Hand sanitisers with high alcohol content – 60 per cent or more - are a good alternative if there is no soap and water. Remember to wash under your nails, between your fingers and the backs of your hands.”
“Have the flu vaccine. If you are exposed to COVID-19 while you have the flu, then you’re much more at risk of it becoming serious.”
Should I cancel my child’s birthday party?
Although there are no official guidelines for banning kid’s parties, non-essential events are still being discouraged, even though children are still in close social contact at school.
If I do cancel my child’s birthday party, will I get my money back?
Entertainers and venues are suggesting parents postpone parties and have them later in the year in order to support small businesses, but it’s down to the individual supplier.
If I don’t cancel my child’s birthday party, what precautions should I take?
“Limit the number of people attending,” says Dr Stanaway. “Ask older family members such as grandparents not to attend, to limit the risk of passing anything on to them.”
“Ask anyone who is feeling at all unwell not to attend, even if they say ‘they just have a cold’.”
“Hold the party outdoors rather than in a confined space.”
“If you’re preparing food, make sure you wash your hands before, and wash any ingredients if necessary too. Make sure everyone washes their hands before they eat.”
Should I cancel my baby shower?
Although there’s no clear research on whether pregnant women or their unborn babies have an increased risk to COVID-19, “we do know that getting the flu when you’re pregnant isn’t ideal,” says Dr Stanaway.
“I would suggest that if you socialise via technology, that might be a good solution instead. If you do go ahead, make it with a very small group of friends, who you know are not unwell, or haven’t been in contact with anyone who has been unwell.”
If I do cancel my baby shower, will I get my money back?
It’s up to individual restaurants whether they refund deposits. Many restaurants are offering takeaway options instead, which could be a good alternative.
If I don’t cancel my baby shower, what precautions should I take?
“Make sure nobody coming has been in contact with anyone who has had coronavirus, or is feeling even slightly unwell themselves,” says Dr Stanaway.
“Don’t have it at your house. It’s impossible to stop people touching things, so if they are carrying germs they will leave them in the house., and this increases your risk of catching coronavirus. The best place to hold a small event like this is outdoors in the fresh air.”
“Maintain social distancing and wash your hands with soap and water at regular intervals throughout the event.”
Should I cancel hanging out with a small group of friends?
Although it’s important to reduce risk by limiting contact with big groups of people, we have to weigh up the social aspects of this too, says Dr Stanaway.
“It can be a good idea to create a ‘social bubble’ by choosing to have contact with just two or three friends or families – who also do the same thing. This means there’s less risk of catching or spreading germs as none of you are seeing people outside your social group.”
If I don’t cancel hanging out with friends, what precautions should I take?
“Maintain social distancing even with close friends.”
“Wash your hands as soon as you enter someone’s house, and as soon as you return to your own home.”
“Sneeze in to your elbow or a tissue instead of your hand.”
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