Scots hoping to throw a glitzy Christmas party this year would be forgiven for being a bit confused, especially given the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant.
With officials and MPs talking about the occasion to party this year – and Boris Johnson’s Christmas party scandal last year – advice can get convoluted.
However, official guidelines in Scotland remain clear – there are still no limits to social gatherings in homes or public spaces.
The Scottish government removed limits on social gatherings and distancing last August.
Still, there are some easy ways to make all gatherings with friends, family, and coworkers safer.
Current Covid rules must be followed such as mandatory face coverings in indoor public spaces.
On vaccination, the Scottish Government says: ‘One of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. “
How to reduce the risk of Covid when dating
The Scottish government has recommended four ways to reduce the risk of Covid.
- Keep a safe distance from people outside your home, especially indoors – the greater the distance, the greater the protection
- Meet outdoors if possible, as it is safer than meeting indoors
- Avoid crowded places
- Open windows if you meet indoors – the more fresh air you let in, the safer it will be
How can people increase ventilation?
The advice on the Scottish Government website lists three ways to let in fresh air:
- Go outside if possible
- Open windows or doors if you are meeting indoors
- Open windows whenever possible when traveling by car, bus and train
What did officials say about the Christmas holidays?
On Tuesday, a health chief said Britons should not socialize unless necessary.
Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and director of the NHS Test and Trace, said limiting socialization would also limit the spread of the coronavirus.
She said: âOf course our behaviors in the winter – and especially around Christmas – we tend to socialize more, so I think that will have to be taken into account.
“So I think we have to be careful, not to socialize when we don’t particularly need it and especially to go and get those booster shots.”
In response, Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director, said yesterday people shouldn’t cancel office Christmas parties.
Even still, he urged the Scots to be cautious.
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Professor Leitch replied on Sky News: “Don’t stop your preparations for Christmas shopping or visiting your mother or going out for your evening at the office, but do it very carefully.
âWhen Sky News has their Christmas party or multiple Christmas parties, I don’t know how it works, I would do a side-stream before I go.
“I would do my best to get everyone vaccinated before I go and be careful when I get there.
âThat doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the Christmas party.
âI had hydro-alcoholic gel on the way and would make sure people were as far away as possible, but I realized that was ridiculous.
âSo you can’t do it completely, but you can have sure events.
âWhen I have Christmas dinner here, my 81-year-old parents will do lateral flow tests not because I forced them to do it because they know it’s the right thing to do.
“You can organize gatherings that science helps you organize in a safer way, so why don’t we?
“So don’t cancel. Make them as safe as possible.”