Celebrating safely: advice for autumn events and observances

Hampshire County Council is urging residents to ensure they follow official COVID-19 guidance if they plan to mark celebratory events and observances over the coming months – and help limit the spread of coronavirus across Hampshire

Oct 16 2020

With Halloween and Bonfire Night just a few weeks away, and Remembrance Day, Diwali and Christmas on the horizon – these are times of the year that traditionally see people come together to celebrate. However, Hampshire’s current local COVID alert level is ‘Medium’, which means national safety rules apply across the county and must be followed.

Simon Bryant, Hampshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “With local infection rates rising sharply, it is vitally important that we all continue to observe social distancing, practice good hand hygiene and wear a face covering. Under the Rule of Six, gatherings of more than six people indoors and outdoors are also prohibited. Following the Government guidance is our best chance of limiting the spread of infection and making sure we keep everyone in Hampshire safe.

“We are entering a crucial stage in the pandemic and we are working closely with our district partners and colleagues in the NHS and Public Health England, to continue to closely monitor the situation across the county. We are urging everyone to play their part, follow the guidance and protect friends, family and loved ones.”

Over recent weeks, the County Council has issued strong advice that large gatherings should not take place, and where organisers choose to continue with events, they are required to demonstrate adherence to the strictest public health precautions, and demonstrate that all necessary COVID-secure measures are in place. Events are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis, including an assessment of thresholds for issuing directions where required.

Specific advice for this season’s upcoming events is as follows:

Halloween

• Trick or Treating: The practice of door knocking is not recommended because of difficulties in adhering to social distancing guidelines, risks associated with potential contact, mixing of multiple households and spread of the virus through contact with shared surfaces, including shared buckets of treats.
• Government guidance applies to any social gatherings of people of all ages both in and outdoors. This includes meeting in groups of six people or less when seeing friends and family and the need to following social distancing rules.
• Residents are encouraged to celebrate within their own household and to find alternative and creative ways of doing so.

Bonfire Night
• Large events to celebrate Bonfire night are strongly discouraged because of the potential for mixing of large numbers of people, the risk of infection spreading from other areas of the community, and the potential for required support from emergency services.
• Private events must adhere to Government guidance around gathering and social distancing, with people encouraged to watch firework displays virtually wherever possible. 
• Hampshire County Council will be working with the Fire Service to ensure appropriate messaging around safety, including the requirement to be COVID safe at all times.

Remembrance Day
• Hampshire County Council will work with its partners to ensure that any events taking place are able to go ahead safely and are planned in accordance with Government guidelines. Where events do take place, strict social distancing must apply with public attendance carefully managed by the event organisers.
• Parades are strongly discouraged because of the potential for mixing of large numbers of people and the risk of infection spreading from other areas of the community.
• The County Council will work with the faith community to provide continued support, particularly with regards to special ceremonies and support for our armed forces and veterans.
• Overall, wherever possible, private moments of remembrance and reflection are encouraged.

Government guidance about Remembrance Day can be found online

Diwali
• Large events to celebrate Diwali are strongly discouraged because of the potential for mixing of large numbers of people and the risk of infections spreading from other areas of the community.
• Government guidance applies to any social gatherings of people of all ages both in and outdoors. This includes meeting in groups of six people or less when seeing friends and family and the need to following social distancing rules.