Mumbai is set to witness tepid New Year celebrations with the Maharashtra government directing people to celebrate within the confines of their homes and refrain from unnecessarily travelling at night. Bursting of firecrackers on New Year’s Eve has also been disallowed.
Hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars in the state will remain open only till 11 pm on December 31. While large gatherings cannot take place in public places, families can hold parties in residential places provided it is a small group and social distancing norms are maintained.
Night time prohibitory orders, which came into force in the city on December 22 – when a mutant coronavirus strain was detected in the United Kingdom – will remain in place, taking effect from 11 pm. These orders will be in place till January 6.
While the government has cautioned against unnecessary travel, people may drive after 11 pm provided there are not more than four persons in a car or more than two persons on a bike.
“Hotels, restaurants,pubs and bars will remain open tomorrow till 11 pm. There is no restriction on people stepping out to buy medicines and visiting friends and family members (after 11 pm). Gathering of five or more persons at public places is prohibited,” Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.
On December 28, the state government had come out with an advisory on New Year’s Eve celebrations, in which it had asked people to celebrate in a simple manner within the confines of their homes.
“On December 31, people should not congregate in large numbers at beaches, parks and public places. Care should be taken to maintain social distancing,” the guidelines stated. The advisory added that as a large number of people gather at Gateway of India, Marine Lines, Girgaum Chowpatty and Juhu Chowpatty in Mumbai and in other major cities in the state on the day, people need to take extra care of their health considering the Covid-19 pandemic.
The guidelines further said that while it is a tradition in many households to visit places of worship on the first day of the New Year, care should be taken to avoid large congregations at these places. The advisory added that in the backdrop of the pandemic, senior citizens and children under the age of 10 are advised against going out of their homes.
Usually, during New Year’s Eve, restaurants are given an extension to remain open till 5 am the next day. Due to the pandemic and a night curfew in place from December 25 to January 5, the authorities have directed restaurants to not remain open beyond 11 pm in Mumbai.
“We had requested for an extension till 1.30 am but did not receive any response from authorities. We have now sought permission to at least allow the kitchens to remain open till that time, as we will receive orders for takeaways from people who are celebrating at home,” said Shivanand Shetty, president of Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association.
He added that since night curfew has been imposed, there is lack of clarity on whether kitchens are also expected to shut by then.
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