With lockdown measures in place and large gatherings banned, this year’s Eid al Fitr festivities are likely to be scaled down. Many are hopeful as they are awaiting for the COVID-19 pandemic in Oman to subside, which may lead to lifting the ban on outdoor gatherings.
During Eid holidays in Oman, it is customary for many families to gather with their relatives and friends. However, as Muscat governorate is on lockdown till May 29, the dreams of those who want to visit their relatives are now shattered.
“During Eid, our family members and relatives of around 200 people make arrangements to meet up at public parks/gardens to engage in greetings on the first day of Eid. This time, because of COVID-19, we may not be able to meet. So, this means our social life has been disrupted, unless the infections subside and a decision to lift the ban on gatherings is taken,” Mubaraka al Aulad Dhawi, an Omani based in Muscat, said.
For others, organising a day out at farm houses, which are outside Muscat, used to be ideal. “We normally organise a family day out with many of my extended family members at a farm house in Musannah. Eid is the only chance we get to meet up with them, so, it is sad to miss such gatherings because of COVID-19,” Mohammed al Naamani, who usually takes the initiative to invite his relatives on Eid day, said.
Meanwhile, those not keen on family gatherings, usually throng malls and cinema halls, which this year might not be possible. “I visit my relatives on the first day of Eid at their homes and on the other days I spend time in malls. I also take my family to cinemas. But, I guess, this Eid, things will not be the same. We have to be confined at home. I’m not sure if congregational Eid prayers, too, would be conducted. Whether one likes it or not, I think, Eid this year will be quite restricted,” Hamdoon al Farsi, a Ghubra resident, said.
According to Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health, the Supreme Committee will take a decision on whether or not to allow celebrations for Eid Al Fitr at the right time. “Depending on the situation, the decision will be taken at the right time,” he said.
The minister also said that most cases of COVID-19 happened due to known causes, including the mingling of patients in the community. “We have not yet attained a point of recovery due to the fact that the virus is still propagating. Hence, preventive measures have to be maintained. Coexistence in the current circumstances requires strict adherence to precautionary measures,” Saeedi emphasised.