While the excitement over the New Year is building up, and many people getting into party-mood, the new strain of coronavirus found in the UK has induced fear in the minds of people.
The strain has now spread to several European countries and to the Middle East as well. Many cases have been reported in India too, leading to the Centre temporarily suspending flights from the UK.
The Indian government has now beefed up its defences. Several states in India have reimposed certain restrictions on public gatherings, and have announced new guidelines for people ahead of New Year celebrations.
Here's the list of states and the restrictions they have imposed:
The Maharashtra government has announced a night curfew from 11 pm to 6 am in major cities across the state from December 22 to January 5 as a precautionary measure. A circular issued by the state government appealed people to "welcome the New Year in a simple way in their homes" and "avoid visiting seashores, gardens, roads even though there will be no day curfew on December 31".
It specifically said children below the age of 10 and people above 60 should not move out of their homes for New Year festivities in view of the pandemic. The circular asked people to maintain social distancing and wear face masks when stepping out.
No cultural or religious events should be organised during this period, and people visiting places of worship on the first day of 2021 must take care to avoid crowding, the government order said. There should be no bursting of firecrackers to avoid pollution, the circular further added.
In Tamil Nadu, the state government has banned New Year celebrations in clubs, resorts, restaurants, and even on beaches. These restrictions will remain in effect on December 31 and January 1. While no night curfew has been imposed in the state, the famous Marina Beach will remain shut for the public on New Year's Eve. Restaurants and pubs are allowed to remain open, but they will have to follow COVID-19 guidelines in terms of number of people allowed.
The Rajasthan government has imposed a night curfew on December 31 in cities with a population of over one lakh. The restrictions will remain in place from 8 pm on December 31 to 6 am on January 1, according to an order issued by the Home Department. No New Year party will be organised and bursting of firecrackers has been banned in the state.
State capital Dehradun has banned public celebrations like parties at hotels, bars, and restaurants on December 31 and January 1. District Magistrate of Dehradun, Dr Ashish Srivastava, said all the restaurants, hotels, and bars in the district are advised to follow COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SoPs) and are only allowed to have small gatherings for celebratory purposes. Use of loudspeakers, DJs and large-scale dancing activities will not be permitted, reported ANI.
On December 11, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ordered an extension of the night curfew in all cities and towns in the state till January 1, 2021. The night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am will remain in place till January 1. The Punjab government also ordered a restriction of 100 people on indoor and 250 people on outdoor gatherings at marriage functions and parties in the state.
The Karnataka government has imposed measures restricting pubs, clubs and restaurants from hosting New Year parties between December 30 and January 2. Clubs, pubs and restaurants can’t host parties but will function normally abiding by Covid-19 guidelines. Starting from Wednesday (December 30), there will be night curfew between 10 pm and 6 am, till January 2.