Even as the sultanate prepares for Eid al Adha in a three-day total lockdown, many are looking forward to the new experience with the same excitement and fervour despite the celebrations being only with their nuclear families.
The Supreme Committee has announced a round-the-clock lockdown in the country during three days of Eid al Adha – Tuesday, July 20, to Thursday, July 22 – during which time all commercial activities and movement of individuals and vehicles is prohibited.
Those looking forward to celebrate Eid have had their dreams shattered. “We thought this Eid would be as it used to be before the pandemic but things have turned upside down with precautionary measures getting tougher. We normally organise a family day out during Eid holidays but we’ll miss one this time. It’s sad but I am sure the Supreme Committee issued such a decision for our benefit. This Eid will be different. We still don’t know what we will do in those three days,” said Rashid al Dhawi, who was looking forward to go out with relatives during the holidays.
While many are unsure of what to expect in the days preceding the three-day Eid lockdown, some are bracing for panic buying and rush at stores as customers stock up food and essential items.
“We know that we will not be going out, but we have to go shopping. Not only for basic items but also clothes. We have to dress up and feel like it’s Eid even if we’ll be at home. I know it will be difficult for us not to go out, especially the children, but we have to accept the fact that this is for our own good,” said Seeb resident Khalfan al Obaidani. He has planned various activities with his family at home for the three days to keep busy.
Despite three other Eids celebrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, this one will be different as all will be compelled to be indoors. “I will celebrate Eid in a unique way at home with my family. This time too, I have plans to make it a beautiful experience, even though we will miss going out. We will do all the usual things that we do, like Eid prayers, meals and barbecue, but all within walls,” said retired government employee Amour al Tauqi from Amerat.
With the current situation demanding caution from all, authorities have urged citizens and residents to follow the measures imposed to reduce the spread of the virus.
H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, has reiterated that both partial and full lockdowns have proved to reduce the number of cases and that people need to avoid Eid gatherings.
“What happened during Eid al Fitr following the gatherings, and weddings or other celebrations, led to a very sharp rise in the number of cases and deaths. What the Supreme Committee seeks in all decisions is to preserve public health and people’s lives. After the previous closures and adherence to procedures, there was a very noticeable decrease in numbers between October 2020 and January 2021,” H E Sa’eedi said.
According to the Supreme Committee, Royal Oman Police will intensify patrols but with consideration to humanitarian cases during the three-day lockdown.
“The aim of the total lockdown is to contain the spread of the virus but exceptions will be made for emergency cases and those excluded according to the decisions of the Supreme Committee,” said Maj Gen Abdullah al Harthy, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Customs for Operations.
The Supreme Committee has also decided to extend the duration of the closure of commercial activities and ban on individual and vehicle movement from 5pm to 4 am, effective from the evening of Friday, July 16, to Saturday, July 31.