With Covid cases on the up and the new Omicron variant in town, it’s the question on everyone’s minds: should we be going to Christmas parties this year?
Well, to be honest, whether or not you should have a festive bash really isn’t for us to say. We’re not in a position to tell you what you can and can’t do. But we can do is lay out what the potential risks might be. So, what could go wrong at a Christmas party this year?
In an ideal world, we’d all have a Christmas party where everyone’s had a booster jab and received a negative test result as close to the event as possible. But this simply isn’t realistic unless your partygoers are all over 40 years of age, have pre-existing conditions or if they are all key workers. The booster simply hasn’t been widely available enough to expect all attendees to have already had it.
And even then, Omicron is supposedly better at hiding from lateral flow tests than previous variants. According to an analysis by the Guardian, if you’re symptomatic, it’s far better to get a PCR test than to rely on a negative latty.
So, presuming you haven’t all had a booster, what else should you bear in mind? Well, it pretty much comes down to individual choice; you’ve got to weigh up your own risks. For example, will you be interacting with vulnerable people or family members at Christmas? Does it matter if you’re in isolation over the Christmas period? If you test positive for Covid either today or tomorrow, you may be out of isolation by Christmas Day. But if you test positive any later, you may be forced to isolate throughout the festive period.
There are other factors, too. Smaller events are better than bigger events, as there are fewer people to transmit the virus, and unvaccinated people are much more likely to catch and spread Covid than those who’ve had their first two jabs. So if you know there will be unvaccinated people at the party, or if it’s a particularly large event with attendees coming from all over the place, it’s worth noting that the risk of catching Covid might be higher.
It’s also worth considering the venue. Hosting the party in a well-ventilated place (or, even better, somewhere outside) would slow the spread of Covid. But then again, perhaps that’s somewhat unrealistic. It’s a little chilly at the moment for outdoor shenanigans.
In short, whether you should go to a Christmas party depends totally on your personal circumstances. It’s something to weigh up for yourself, considering the potential threat to you, your friends, family and colleagues.
Of course, many of us (including Time Out, sad face) have had our Christmas parties cancelled already. So for us lot, at least that’s one less thing to worry about.
Want to know which restrictions might be next? Here’s everything we know about ‘Plan C’.