None of the festivals this year have been what we're used to or wish it to be. Deepavali is not going to be any different.
With CMCO imposed in most states, many people can't even celebrate the festival of light with family who live in different states, but we can't let COVID-19 stop us from celebrating.
Deepavali is, after all, symbolic of defeating the dark with light. We can't let the darkness that is the pandemic win!
However, this does not mean we just happily continue on with life the way it used to be la.
The government has come up with a list of SOPs to follow so everyone can enjoy Deepavali safely.
If you're unsure of what the SOP for Deepavali are, don't worry, we've got your back.
Here's what you can and can't do.
First and foremost, returning to celebrate with families in CMCO and EMCO areas are strictly not allowed.
Don't even think of trying to sneak around and do it because if you get caught, you'll only have yourself to blame.
Also, be responsible lah. The COVID-19 numbers are going up and the authorities have restricted our movements for a reason.
Be responsible, do the right thing.
The SOPs for RMCO & CMCO areas are:
Deepavali at places of worship (temple)
The government has agreed to allow Hindus to attend prayer ceremonies at the temple on the first day only.
A counter must be set up at the entrance to check body temperature and screening must be done for COVID-19 related symptoms such as cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.
Attendance must be recorded using the MySejahtera app or done manually.
Those with chronic illnesses, the elderly and children below 12 are not encouraged to attend prayers at the temple.
The temple or place of worship must adhere to SOPs for places of worship. Only 30 people allowed at one time depending on the size of the area and if people can stick to the 1-metre social distancing regulation.
The prayer sessions can only be held between 7am to 12pm and will be divided into five sessions. Each session will last 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of sanitisation.
Sweets must be distributed in pre-packed packages, and attendees must disperse immediately after the prayers have concluded.
Deepavali SOP at home:
For landed property - Celebrations at home must be between close family and not more than 20 people at one time.
For strata houses (apartments, condos) sized less than 1,500sq ft, only 10 people are allowed at one time.
For strata houses sized more than 2,500sq ft, not more than 15 people are allowed at one time.
Family members are encouraged to wear masks and ensure that they practice physical distancing of 1 metre. They should also prioritise cleanliness and use hand sanitisers or wash their hands frequently.
Deepavali SOP for EMCO areas:
Prayers prohibited at temple.
Home prayers and festivities are only allowed for family members of the same household.
No visitors allowed.
A lot of rules but they're there to keep you safe
We know that it sounds like there are a lot of restrictions but the COVID-19 numbers are still rising you guys.
Yes, it's going to be dreary but let's priorise the health and safety of our family, friends and community.
Have smaller-scale celebrations, enjoy the few that you get to celebrate with and pray that this festival of light brings some good news to Malaysia and the world soon.
Follow the SOPs or you might be visited by Abang Polis
If you know the SOP and are thinking of slyly celebrating the day and ignoring them, don't.
You may just get fined by a roving Abang Polis.
According to a report by News Straits Times, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that while roadblocks will not be set up at residential areas, the cops will still be making their rounds during the celebrations.
"I was told they (police) will make their rounds to ensure SOP compliance.
"We have fixed a maximum of 20 people per house and if there are more and flouting the SOP, action will be taken," he said.
Have a safe Deepavali everyone!