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Overcrowding at restaurants during eid sparks COVID-19 concerns

Large family gatherings and restaurant and café visits mark Eid Al-Adha each year. Yet, this eid, the ongoing pandemic has raised concerns about overcrowding and possible spikes in COVID-19 infections
Large family gatherings and restaurant and café visits mark Eid Al-Adha each year. Yet, this eid, the ongoing pandemic has raised concerns about overcrowding and possible spikes in COVID-19 infections. (Photo: Unsplash)
AMMAN — Large family gatherings and restaurant and café visits mark Eid Al-Adha each year. Yet, this eid, the ongoing pandemic has raised concerns about overcrowding and possible spikes in COVID-19 infections.اضافة اعلان

Ramez Abdallah told Jordan News that his one of his family’s “rituals in eid is going to a restaurant on the second day.” This year, to Abdallah’s surprise, the restaurant he visited “was so crowded that (people) did not even social distance. Tables “were so close together” that there was not enough space between people, he said.

"The problem is that restaurants want to make profit,” said Abdallah. “They do not care about our health. They could have limited the number of tables and thus the number of people, but they did not do that."

Abdallah wasn’t the only one who noticed overcrowding in restaurants over the holiday. "When I saw that the restaurant we wanted to eat in on the first day of eid was crowded, I decided to go to another one. Adhering to safety measures is a priority for me," said Ahmad Odeh in an interview with Jordan News. "I did not mind changing tens of restaurants to find one that was.

"The problem was that at the first restaurant, people were too close to each other and were being served argileh,” he said. “I don’t know how people can still smoke argileh during the pandemic."
 
Some decided to abandon the usual family restaurant visit this year. Mohammad Al-Khateeb, another citizen, told Jordan News that, "My family and I decided to spend the eid holiday with our family (at home). We can go to a restaurant or a cafe anytime, so why take the risk of getting infected? We all know how crowded restaurants are during eid.”

"We know how to enjoy our time and also apply safety measures,” said Khateeb. “During our gatherings with our families, my wife and I social distanced, and, of course, we did not shake hands with anyone. This is better and safer for everyone; The pandemic is not over yet."

Hasan Abdel Fatah, an employee at one of Amman’s restaurants, told Jordan News that "we all know that during eid, people choose to spend time with their families at restaurants, stating that this is a “ritual for almost all Jordanians.”

“We as restaurant employees suffered from rush times,” he said. “But still we tried our best to adhere to safety measures."

Abdel Fatah emphasized the difficulty of balancing both the need for revenue and public health concerns.

"I cannot deny that we want to make profit. We cannot prevent people from coming to our restaurant or limit the number of tables (during eid) because we wait for such occasions to compensate for some of the significant losses we suffered during the pandemic,” he said.

“But at the same time, we applied certain health protocols, like keeping our masks on all the time and sanitizing, in addition to asking people to keep their masks until they reach their tables."

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