After the permission of Prime Minister Imran Khan and on the recommendation of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), the Ministry of Interior issued a notification for the Eid ul Fitr 2021 holidays in Pakistan. Usually, there are 3 Eid holidays but according to the letter, there will be five holidays this year from 10th May to 15th May.
Eid ul Fitr 2021 Tones Down on Celebration
Even though there are extended holidays, the atmosphere of celebration is not the same as other Eid holidays before coronavirus. There is smart lockdown in various cities of the country due to the worsening situation of coronavirus. Last year’s Eid was also during the lockdown and families were discouraged to entertain social gatherings. The case will be same this year as there are now financial penalties for the common people, if they break COVID protocols.
If the events of Eid ul Fitr 2021 carry on like pre-pandemic, then transmission of the virus can amplify and potentially overpower the country’s resilience. The government has made guidelines to ensure social distancing and coronavirus preventive measures during Eid prayer and celebrations.
COVID-19 Guidelines for Preventing the Spread
The general guidelines for preventing COVID-19 spread is same including wearing a mask for outdoor activities and indoor gathering; avoiding travel and social gatherings; avoiding hugs and kisses in the name of Eid celebration; minimal outdoor shopping; staying at home; maintain 3 feet distance in small social gatherings; events should be of short duration and surfaces must be disinfected after guests leave.
For mosques and Eid prayers, those with respiratory issues are recommended to stay home. For others, they can at least make ablution/wudhu at home; personal prayer mat/Jaye Namaz recommended as opposed to using the one in the mosque; open-air prayer is recommended; Sanitizer must be present at the entrance of the mosque, and water coolers must not be used.
Moreover, the government of Pakistan has also advised Imam Masjid to give sermons on the topic of pandemic and how the government has taken orderly steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. During the pandemic, pre-prayer sermon and post-prayer Khutbah will have a shorter duration than usual.
Facilities During Eid Holidays
Apart from guidelines, the government has also cracked down on various entertainment spots for the public during Eid ul Fitr 2021 holidays.
There is a complete ban on the concept of Chaand Raat where people spend their night buying jewelry, ornaments, mehndi (henna), and clothes. Well, usually women are interested in doing all of that while men are mostly interested in staring at them.
Furthermore, all markets, businesses, public spaces, hotels, tourist resorts, and shops will remain closed during the entirety of these holidays. The only things open are some essential services like grocery stores, bakeries, pharmacies, medical services, utility services, fruits, vegetables, meat shops, food takeaways, and petrol pumps.