Our Desk | Social distancing amid mega events

Lynzy Valles

Following the series of measures the Health Bureau has had in place since early this year to deter the spread of Covid-19, Macau residents have been heeding the call, attributing importance to the measures.
One of those is the wearing of face masks. We have been wearing masks everywhere we go since February, a few weeks, maybe even a few months ahead of other regions.
The compliance of the public with this call is incredible. On top of this, several companies have asked their employees to work from home, thus increasing the number of virtual meetings, to avoid contact with people.
With the SAR on high alert since the outbreak of the pandemic in China, all companies, particularly gaming operators, have heightened their preemptive measures to ensure public health is protected.
And with several restrictions in place, after just a few days of deliberation by health authorities, Macau’s borders closed.
Many have applauded the administration of the Chief Executive for being swift to put restrictions in place – even shutting casinos for 15 days.
Several months later, despite calls to avoid large gatherings and to wear masks in public places, the public appears to be finding it more challenging to comply as Macau is now hosting a series of events that involve large crowds.
Aside from the expos and exhibitions recently held, at which masks, and health code and body temperature checks have been required, the public has been keen on attending large-scale events recently.
One of them was the Caritas Macau Charity Bazaar. The charity event attracted such a large crowd that the organizers even noted that participant numbers were similar to last year.
Signs encouraging social distancing were in place, yet no one followed them – simply because following this instruction is impossible at such events.
Recently, the health authority even condemned a “large shopping mall,” for organizing a large promotional event, which attracted a substantial number of people.
It then called on organizers and participants at various venues and institutions across Macau to “continue to adhere to various prevention and control measures.”
We are certainly going to see the same situation during the upcoming Food Festival, which is slated to kick off this weekend.
I mean, combining a mask, social distancing and food? It is quite impossible to adhere to the health authorities’ call.
We all know that attending these events does not come with a significant risk of infection with the virus since Macau has not had Covid-19 cases for some four months now, and has therefore been deemed as a safe city.
And to be frank, there is nowhere a resident would wish to be other than here in Macau.
Aside from having zero cases, one would be happy to be able to socialize in the streets and attend mass gatherings, not to mention the government’s relief measures for residents.
As a result, amid all the mega events taking place, which are expected to be attended by large crowds since there are no other places to go anyway, I still find that residents are being very responsible and mindful of how other people are still conscious of being infected with the virus.
People everywhere are still wearing masks – except for some of those that walk the streets at the wee hours.
And while social distancing will be quite impossible at events such as the Food Festival, I’m sure no one fears attending events such as this. I mean how different is this to riding a bus to Hac Sa or to Leal Senado on a weekend – or even on an everyday basis?

Categories Opinion