COVID curbs to dampen year-end festivities in B’luru, Mumbai and Delhi

The Karnataka government has prohibited parties between December 30 and January 2 at clubs, pubs, restaurants, and other places. However, it allowed dining with limited seating capacity.

Bengaluru's Brigade Road lit up for Christmas and New Year. File photo

As European countries like Greece, Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark tightened coronavirus restrictions and went into lockdown mode ahead of Christmas and New Year, Indian states, too, are following suit to contain the surge in COVID-19 infections during the year-end festival season.

Civic bodies in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi imposed restrictions over the celebrations ahead of the festival.

The Karnataka government has prohibited parties between December 30 and January 2 at clubs, pubs, restaurants, and other places. However, it allowed dining with limited seating capacity. Besides, it also prohibited mass gatherings and celebrations in public places, and main roads, unlike all other years. 

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner Manjunatha Prasad on Monday (December 21) said even apartment associations will not be allowed to conduct special parties and gatherings within their premises on New Year’s eve. 

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The government order said planned mass gatherings without social distancing in clubs/pubs/restaurants are prohibited from December 30, 2021 to January 2, 2021. “Clubs/pubs and restaurants cannot host parties but can open for dining in limited numbers,” it said. 

The commissioner further reiterated that only green crackers will be allowed. In accordance with the Centre’s guidelines, state chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar said it will enforce social distancing norms and mandate the use of sanitisers, thermal screening and wearing of masks as a mandatory rule across churches and places of worship. 

Similarly, the municipal corporation in Mumbai banned mass gatherings and restricted New Year’s eve celebrations on December 31 to 11.30 pm in malls, pubs and hotels. It also directed church committees to get prior approval from the government for the Christmas day mass.

The city commissioner said churches will have to submit a detailed note on the space available, number of people it can accommodate at a given point of time and then the government would take a call on issuing permissions accordingly. 

In Delhi, The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed that during Christmas, and New Year, green crackers can be used from 11:55 pm to 12:30 am only at places where air quality is ”moderate” or below. It however imposed a total ban on the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers in the NCR and all cities/towns in the country where the ambient air quality is categorised as “poor”. 

The global coronavirus cases have crossed the 75 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.68 million. India continues to be the second worst-hit country, after the US, with 10 million (10,055,560) confirmed cases as of December 21.

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