Partygoers heading out to celebrate New Year’s Eve in two of Australia’s most populous states have been told by government officials what’s good for them, being warned against any random acts of affection due to the risks posed by the coronavirus.
In the southern state of Victoria, the government wants no displays of physical contact such as kissing despite the state going 59 consecutive days with no locally acquired coronavirus cases.
The state government has issued guidance for people not to kiss anyone outside their immediate family, to prevent celebrations becoming a super spreading event.
Victorians are also being advised to take hand sanitizer to parties on the night and use it liberally on anyone they come in contact with, Sky News reports.
“Just as Christmas was a little different this year, New Year’s Eve will be too,” a spokesman for the Victorian Government said.
The spokesperson also told Victorians to carry hand sanitiser with them on New Year’s Eve if they are going to parties, and warned not to share drinks.
In the neighboring state of NSW the advice is much the same.
The State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday that New Year’s Eve will be different: “I know that’s normally an emotional time where we like to kiss and hug everybody around us, can I ask for absolute restraint. Obviously your household is OK.
“But please be restrained because the more restrained we are at midnight, the better 2021 will be for all of us.”
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he supports the call for restraint.
“When the clock ticks over to midnight … I know that’s normally an emotional time where we like to kiss and hug everybody around us, can I ask for absolute restraint,” Hazzard said, according to ABC News.
Australia has fared better than most developed economies in the pandemic through swift border closures, lockdowns, widespread testing and social distancing.
It has recorded just under 28,300 infections, the overwhelming majority in Victoria state, and 908 coronavirus deaths.
Victoria’s capital Melbourne, the nation’s previous hotspot, was in a harsh lockdown for months.
On Monday it recorded its 59th consecutive day with no coronavirus community transmissions and no related deaths.