People have faced so many hardships in the year 2020 that everyone is now eagerly waiting for 2021. And, as people gear up to welcome the New Year, the Maharashtra government has urged people to refrain from venturing out of their homes amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and pointed that a night curfew is in force till January 5.
As a precautionary measure taken after a new variant of coronavirus was found in the UK, the Maharashtra government has imposed night curfew in major cities, including Mumbai, between 11 pm and 6 am till January 5.
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 go out of their homes for New Year festivities in view of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police is also geared up to ensure a safe environment for citizens for New Year celebrations. There will heavy deployment of the police force and nakabandis (road blockades) will be set up to regulate traffic, and action will be taken for driving under the influence of alcohol. Drones will be used for surveillance, and anti-sabotage measures will also be undertaken.
But, there is a lot of confusion about the rules in place for New Year’s Eve because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And, to make it easy for our readers, we have made a list of things that Mumbaikars are allowed and not allowed to do.
Here is the list:
Are house parties and terrace parties allowed?
Yes. House and terrace parties will be allowed to go on even after 11.00 pm as long as there are small groups with a limited number of people who can maintain social distancing. But, one cannot hold a party on boats, banquet halls, etc. on New Year’s Eve.
Large gatherings will not be allowed anywhere in Mumbai in view of COVID-19, and the use of face masks and social distancing norms will remain mandatory. The Maharashtra government has prohibited gathering of five or more people at public places. "Gathering of five or more people at public places is prohibited," state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.
Will restaurants, pubs, bars remain open?
Hotels, restaurants, pubs, and bars in Maharashtra will remain shut after 11 pm on December 31. Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday said: "Hotels, restaurants, pubs, and bars will remain open December 31 till 11 pm."
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police has said gatherings in restaurants, bars, and pubs will not be allowed post 11 pm, and loudspeaker/DJ music beyond permissible decibel limit and fireworks are also prohibited.
Commuting in cars, on bikes
Yes, people can use their cars and bikes on New Year's Eve for commuting after 11 pm as long as there are a maximum of four people in the car and two people on a bike. According to Mumbai Police, citizens can travel, subject to a maximum of four persons per four wheeler. There will be no restriction on visiting friends, relatives and public places, but not in a group of more than 4 persons.
Can I go out to buy medicines, and visit friends and relatives?
While the gathering of five or more people at public places is prohibited, there are no restrictions on people stepping out for the purpose of buying medicines, and visiting friends and relatives (after 11 pm in view of the night curfew).
"There is no restriction on people stepping out to buy medicines and visiting friends and family members (after 11 PM)," state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Wednesday.
According to reports, essential services and food delivery will continue as usual. This means one will be able to order food from restaurants using platforms such as Zomato, Swiggy and others.
What about visiting Gateway of India, Marine Drive?
The authorities in the city have urged people not to gather in large at public places. The police are unlikely to impose restrictions, as long as people are in small groups and there’s enough space to maintain social distancing.
What action will be taken against the violators?
The Mumbai Police in a press release said violators of the prohibitory order issued under section 144 of the CrPC would face action under section 188 (disobeying the order of public servant) of the IPC and section 51 of the National Disaster Management Act.
(Inputs from PTI)