The holiday tradition of going around spreading cheer by going door to door singing Christmas melodies—more popularly referred to as Christmas caroling—is not being encouraged at this time, according to Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez.
Speaking at the radio briefing last Friday, Villagomez stated that, for many reasons, caroling must be prevented because social distancing and the wearing of face masks is not present. At the same time, it fails to comply with rules when entering any sites and offices such as signing up for contact tracing purposes and having one’s temperature taken. “If an event like this happens, it’s abruptly moving from one area to another area,” said Villagomez.
He added that they want to make sure that the risk of any type of exposure or infection is avoided. Additionally, he stated that all COVID-19 enforcement agencies are aware of this measure. Health experts recognize singing as one of the fastest ways to spread the COVID-19 virus.
However, Villagomez wants to avoid penalizing people.
“We really hate to penalize at this time of the season. So what we’re asking is just cooperation and public education,” said Villagomez.
He said the Office of the Governor will soon come out with sanctions and penalties against this activity but that has yet to be released as of press time.
Not only has the Christmas caroling tradition been canceled, but the Catholic church’s tradition of bringing the statue of the Child Christ—locally known as Niño—into homes during the holidays will not take place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa informed the public last Nov. 28 that the traditional practice of bringing the image of Child Jesus into homes will be canceled, with churches around the islands practicing safety measures.
Instead, Jimenez encourages people who usually make an offering for the church at the time of the Niño visitation to make their offerings when they visit Niño during the Sundays of Advent and Christmas.