Like the previous year’s lunar new year, Chinese New Year 2022 will be a little different. We’ve been through several waves of COVID-19 infections by now, with our latest battle being containing and monitoring the Omicron variant. Safe distancing measures and restrictions are still in force, so celebrations will have to be muted, and people will have to be more mindful when shopping for goodies.
However, that should not detract from the spirit of Chinese New Year or prevent people from reconnecting with loved ones over the festive season. This year, the first day of Chinese New Year 2022 falls on 1 Feb and ends on 15 Feb. So it’s about time to declutter and spring clean!
The rules have been designed to minimise chances of transmission while still allowing people to celebrate with loved ones. Let’s take a look at what they are so as to maintain a safe Chinese New Year 2022 celebration.
Safe Distancing Rules for Chinese New Year 2022
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong mentioned the current COVID-19 safe management rules will remain over the upcoming Chinese New Year 2022 period. The latest surge in cases, brought on by the Omicron variant, is concerning.
The following rules must be observed before, after and during the Chinese New Year period to prevent a superspreader event:
Receive Not More than 5 Visitors per Household per Day
You can have a maximum of five people visit your home per day, regardless of whether they are on the property at the same time. This means you should plan in advance which guests to receive on each day of the Chinese New Year, and also check with friends and relatives before showing up at their homes.
Do Not Visit More than 2 Households per Day
In order to limit contact, each person should not visit more than two households per day over the Chinese New Year period. On the bright side, not having to rush from home to home means you’ll get to spend more quality time with the people you do visit.
When Dining out, Wear a Mask When Not Eating or Drinking
Some families prefer to head to a restaurant for their reunion dinner gatherings. If that’s what you plan to do, don’t forget to wear your mask whenever you are not eating or drinking. In addition, everyone at the table must be wearing a mask during the tossing of yusheng, which must be done without the utterance of auspicious phrases.
No Multiple Table Bookings
For group dining sizes for dining out is still capped at five people per table (fully-vaccinated individuals only). We know many have large extended families. But when making a reservation at a restaurant, dine responsibly and do not book multiple tables, unless all diners are from the same household. No inter-mingling across tables is allowed even if diners are from the same household.
How to Stay Safe While Receiving Visitors at Home This Chinese New Year 2022
In addition to adhering to the safe distancing measures, here are some tips for keeping you and your visitors safe when hosting this Chinese New Year. Here is a condensed list of things to do at the different stages of hosting guests this lunar new year.
What to do at the different stages of CNY 2022 visiting
How to stay safe this CNY 2022
When planning for guests
Ensure you space out visits (no more than 5 visitors a day); consider video calling as an alternative
When guests arrive
Have them wash their hands (and feet, if you’re particular); have hand sanitiser on hand
When guests are visiting
Open windows and keep fan turned on, eat outdoors if possible, for better ventilation; keep volume down
When guests are eating
Space out seating arrangements, avoid steamboat, use serving spoons. If possible, have individual portions of food and drink to further reduce the possibility of cross-contamination
When tossing lohei
Use a lohei app instead of shouting
After guests leave
Clean and disinfect all surfaces
1. Direct Visitors to the Bathroom upon Arrival
After greeting your guests at the door, politely direct them to the bathroom where they can wash their hands with soap and water.
2. Make Hand Sanitiser Readily Available
To encourage visitors to sanitise their hands from time to time, display bottles of hand sanitiser prominently in areas frequented by your guests, such as the dining room or living room.
3. Make Sure Your Home Is Well-ventilated
The virus spreads more easily in poorly-ventilated spaces, so it is a good idea to keep your windows open and turn on the fan. You might want to avoid using air-conditioning as it can impede ventilation. If you live on the ground floor or in a landed property, you can consider hosting your guests in the garden or on the terrace.
4. Offer Spaced-out Seating Arrangements
Give your guests more breathing room by spacing out seating arrangements. If your living room or dining room lacks space, you can rethink the layout or temporarily shift some furniture into your bedrooms in order to give your guests more space.
Also, make sure there is enough seating so your guests do not resort to squeezing on the sofa. Foldable chairs and plastic stools can be a good form of makeshift seating.
5. Skip the Steamboat
While steamboat is a popular and fun way to feed your guests at reunion dinner, you might want to skip it this year as there is too much risk of cross-contamination. If you really want to do steamboat, one alternative is to include serving spoons and communal chopsticks and instruct everyone not to dip their personal chopsticks into the pot.
6. Serve Individual Portions of Food and Drinks
In order to minimise cross-contamination, avoid displaying large servings of snacks and drinks or having your guests serve themselves, opting instead for individual portions that you prepare personally for your guests.
For example, you could serve packet drinks. And at mealtime, instead of having everyone dip into communal dishes with their cutlery, have serving spoons for each dish for hygiene purposes. Better yet, portion out food and serve your guests their own plate.
7. Space out Your Guests’ Visits
If you are receiving guests from multiple households, space out their visits so they do not all arrive at the same time. This will enable you to ensure that everyone has adequate space, and make it easier for you to clean and disinfect the space after each group’s departure.
8. Clean and Disinfect after the Guests Leave
After the departure of your guests, vacuum the floors, disinfect the furniture and air out the space by opening your windows. You should also take care to wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning and doing the dishes.
9. Keep the Volume Down
Talking loudly can transmit the virus, so remind your guests to keep their voices down this Chinese New Year. Playing soothing music at a low volume in the background can generate a more tranquil mood and encourage people to speak more softly.
10. Use the Lohei App
Instead of reciting the litany of auspicious phrases when dishing out yusheng, use DJ Beng’s Lohei app to hear a recording of the auspicious exclamations.
11. Use Technology to Stay in Touch with Those Who Can’t Visit
You might not be able to see certain friends and family members due to the caps on the number of visitors. In addition, friends and family living overseas might not make it home this year due to the curbs on international travel. But thanks to technology such as video chat apps, you can stay in touch with those loved ones who cannot be with you physically.
Chinese New Year Greetings for Year of the Tiger
If you’re visiting and collecting red packets, you’ll usually offer Chinese New Year greetings in return. While the typical some more traditional 新年快乐 (xin nian kuai le) suffice for most, some Chinese families consider it a bonus if you incorporate the word for the zodiac of the year into greetings.
If you’re looking to earn brownie points, here are some greetings you can use for Chinese New Year 2022, year of the tiger.
- 虎年大吉 (hǔ nián dà jí): Good luck and prosperity in the year of the Tiger
- 福虎凌云 (fú hǔ líng yún): Hope you will reach out into the clouds and soar high in the sky with the lucky tiger
- 虎运连年 (hǔ yùn lián nián): May you have luck that is as ferocious/strong as a tiger, year after year
- 虎气冲天 (hǔ qì chōng tiān): Wishing you a great tiger year ahead, with your luck rushing to the sky
- 虎虎生威，虎年更猛 (hǔ hǔ shēng wēi, hǔ nián gèng měng): May you prosper and be successful in the Year of the Tiger
Happy Chinese New Year to all, from PropertyGuru
PropertyGuru warmly wishes you health and wealth in the coming Year of the Tiger! We are leaving behind a trying year, but are thankful that we can still celebrate with loved ones.
Remember to stay safe and healthy!
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This article was written by Joanne Poh. A former real estate lawyer, she writes about property and personal finance and spends her free time compulsively learning languages and roller skating in carparks.
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