New Delhi: At a time when the coronavirus infection is fast spreading, one in five families say that they will be attending engagements and weddings this season, sparking fears of the situation worsening in the country, a survey revealed on Monday.
The pandemic may have spoiled the big fat wedding plans of many, but it has not dampened their spirit to tie the knot as planned, though with a reduced guest list. Many states have capped the limit of attendees allowed in weddings and similar mass gatherings between 50-150.
‘LocalCircles’ observed an increase in citizen posts in regard to how they will be attending weddings and their plans to stay safe. Instances were also highlighted in Delhi of hotels taking bookings in three names to work around to the government’s 50 guests per wedding rule, to permit 150 guests in an event.
On basis of this feedback, to gauge the percentage of families expected to attend weddings in this season, a survey was conducted which received more than 17,000 responses from citizens across 239 districts of India. The respondents were divided between 62 per cent men and 38 per cent women, while 51 per cent respondents were from tier-1 cities, 23 per cent from tier-2, and 26 per cent from tier-3, 4 and rural districts.
The first question, “What is your plan to attend engagements and weddings in person for November-December this year?”, received 8,957 responses. Out of these, 44 per cent voted, “don’t have any invitations” for these months, while 35 per cent said “was invited to attend but are taking a pass this year due to Covid-19”.
On the other hand, approximately, 20 per cent of citizens said they expect to attend engagements and weddings in the November-December wedding season this year. Given that weddings, both local and outstation, are generally family affairs, it is likely that in many family members would be likely to attend and as a result, the actual number would be higher than 20 per cent.
Via the next question, an attempt was made to gauge the perception of citizens on the risk of Covid-19 spread associated with weddings. The poll asked respondents: “For the engagements and weddings that you plan to attend in the coming 3-4 weeks, what is your view on the Covid risk associated with it?”
This received 8,456 responses, with 38 per cent of citizens who plan to attend engagements and weddings in November and December believe the risk of Covid spread is average, low or non-existent. However, 57 per cent said “there is a high risk and they will be taking all precautions”.
The fact that nearly 2 in 5 respondents believe that the spread of risk at weddings is average, low or non-existent is of great concern as all that is required is one Covid positive individual to spread the virus. Given that many cases in India have been asymptomatic, the risk of spread is nothing short of high.
With cities like Delhi already reporting 5,000-8,000 daily cases in the last few weeks, weddings along with the winter weather and severe air quality is likely to worsen the Covid-19 situation further putting high levels of stress on the Covid health infrastructure.