Amid Covid-19 pandemic, people are preparing to celebrate Eid-al-Adha “Festival of the Sacrifice” – one of the holiest occasions in the Islamic Calendar. Eid-al-Adha is marked by sacrificing an animal that is close to them and proves their devotion and love for Allah. The government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has announced fresh relaxation in the lockdown rules on the eve of Eid; people are busy shopping and Goat traders have set up markets at various places in expectation of good sales. The women, young girls and kids are busy with their Eid shopping with zeal and zest.
On previous occasion, people celebrated Eid-al-Fitr in a restricted manner and with the arrival of Eid-al-Adha , people are looking forward to enjoying their festival freely. It is very important to take necessary precautions while celebrating festivals.
However, the pandemic poses a “big challenge”. Therefore, people should avoid crowds during festivals. The gold standard would be to remain cautious even if you had been fully vaccinated.
This Eid could look close to normal to a lot of people as there is ease in restrictions but doctors still caution the pandemic is not over yet.
Dr. Jaffar Ahmed Tantray currently working as Paediatrician at G.B Pant hospital said “ The lockdown was imposed to flatten the curve. We cannot forget the lessons this pandemic has taught us. We must continue to use masks , social distance , wash hands and avoid large gatherings. There is always a worry that lifting restrictions may lead to an unintended rebound of more cases. Residents need to continue practicing all COVID-19 public health measures to limit the spread of the virus. Please note preventive behaviours are the same for children. Parents should be ideal role models to their children regarding mask etiquette, hand hygiene, vaccination and social distancing.”
“First thing people should ensure that before leaving your house make use of face masks, gloves and sanitiser. In a bid to avoid potential hygiene issues around handling bank notes, opting or digital payments while shopping is a much safer alternative. Avoid stepping inside outlets which are packed with people. Remember to maintain a social distance of at least 2 meters from the customers and staff while you shop. The fewer the people out on the roads and in shops, the lesser the chance there is for people to contract COVID-19,” Jaffar added.
Dr Rameez, General physician at District hospital Ganderbal said,” Eid-al –Adha celebrations should be sensible as signs of third wave of COVID-19 infections are already being seen in parts of the world. Today, the situation is not as bleak as vaccination drives are taking place in full swing. But we need to remember that the pandemic is not over. We have to be cautious and follow proper COVID appropriate behaviour during celebrations to avoid a spike in cases. As we are close to the coming Eid celebration, let us be mindful of this and do our best to take necessary precautions that will protect us from contacting the virus.”
“Such precautions include ensuring you are vaccinated and even if vaccinated continue to maintain physical distance, wear your mask and avoid large gatherings. I would advise no large family visits, gatherings or handshakes during Eid holidays. Let us try to make the most of Eid by celebrating responsibly,” Rameez added.
Meanwhile, shopkeepers have started to furnish their stores importing different unique essentials for the occasion.
Mushtaq Ahmed (30), shopkeeper from Kangan said, “ It’s a good decision taken by the government and there is a strong need to continue COVID-19 protocol. We had a great loss during the past months as we were not able to pay rent for our shops. On the eve of Eid-al-Adha , we are expecting to do good business. Lifting the restrictions at this time is very well appreciated. This will help people to start earning their livelihood.”
Shopping is picking up momentum in the markets as Eid-al-Adha is drawing near and the jubilant mood of young girls , women and the youth is approaching full swing. Nowadays, the main focus of the citizens is towards the purchase of clothes, footwear and many other items for festivals.
Aafreen Yousuf (17), student of 11th class said, “I am really happy that we are allowed to do Eid shopping this time around. Last year, markets were shut and we were not allowed to step out of our homes. We should prevent huge crowds in markets and thus help prevent the spread of Coronavirus infection.”
Women of all ages have started visiting bazaars and shopping malls to buy clothes and other items.
Aisha Bano (30), who is accompanied by her husband at Main market Kangan said, “My husband works as a salesman. I have two daughters. Not always do we get out like this and shop. Only at this time , when my husband is free to accompany us , we step out for shopping. We did not shop last Eid due to Lockdown but due to ease in restrictions it became possible for us.”
Increased security should be implemented around all markets for the protection of Customers rushing for Eid shopping. However, this time , the endeavour will have to preclude a lot of safety considerations to mitigate the chances of contracting COVID-19- the disease that has left millions ill and tens of thousands dead all around the world.
Eid is an important occasion and we should avoid queuing in front of stores. Instead of being more cautious and following the government –issued measures, people are leaving their homes to find the perfect dress for Eid. Health and safety should be our first priority in this crucial time.