Difficult to practice social distancing during Gawai celebrations in longhouse

Gawai celebration (DCCI PIC)

By Emma Victoria

THE Sarawak Disaster Management Committee will decide on the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the Gawai celebration, which falls on June 1.

Though the federal government has allowed Hari Raya visits within the same state, with a maximum of 20 people in attendance at a time, the situation in the longhouses in Sarawak, might be different.

Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) president Tan Sri William Mawan said the state will need different guidelines as social distancing could not be guaranteed in longhouses, where many families are residing and celebrating under one roof.

“It is understandable that those who are already in the longhouse would be celebrating among themselves but the practice of social distancing would be compromised once family members or people from outside visit them or spend time in the longhouse for the upcoming Gawai festival.

As much as I would like to thank the Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) for his goodwill gesture to allow celebrations on a small scale, I still have to seek guidelines and direction from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee over this matter,” he told Borneo Post.

The Pakan assemblyman said the Prime Minister’s announcement regarding that the festivities can still be celebrated during the CMCO might be a ‘feel good’ gesture but he still hoped health and safety are not compromised so the good work by the frontliners in handling the pandemic is not undone.

He believed the Covid-19 pandemic is still at its peak, saying that was why the CMCO, particularly at the national level, was extended until June 9.

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