Amidst global scare over the new strain of COVID-19 virus detected in the United Kingdom, the Maharashtra government on December 21 beefed up its defences, including imposing a night curfew in Mumbai and 26 other municipal corporations' jurisdictions till January 5.
As per the state government directive, a curfew between 11 pm and 6 am have been enforced in the financial capital till January 5.
But, the night curfew order stoked confusion among Mumbaikars. While explaining the difference between a total lockdown and a night curfew BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said that night curfew is not a lockdown.
While talking to Times Now, the BMC chief said: "I have been re-iterating, night curfew is not a lockdown." He further said the night curfew is just a preventive move for people to not gather in large numbers during New Year.
Chahal said the night curfew was put in place as people were found violating COVID-19-related norms at pubs, night clubs, and restaurants during recent raids.
Further explaining how the night curfew works, the BMC chief said: "You go out with your family on the 31st, go have a nice dinner. Wrap up by 11:00 pm, and no one will be stopping you to be on the road post 11:00 pm as well. Celebrate the new year at home."
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police will deploy around 35,000 police personnel to maintain law and order, and prevent any untoward incidents on New Year's Eve.
Joint commissioner of police (Law and Order) Vishwas Nangre Patil said in view of the night curfew, New Year celebrations can be held before 11 pm, but after that strict action will be taken against people who violate the prohibitory orders.
Hotels, restaurants, and other recreational establishments have been asked to bring down shutters at 11 pm sharp, and action will be taken against owners who violate the norm, he added.
Mumbaikars can go out during the curfew, in force from 11 pm to 6 am, for valid reasons, but not in a group of more than five persons. "As per the night curfew orders, gathering of more than five persons is prohibited. We don't have any problem if people step out with their families or in groups of four or less," Nangre Patil said.
(Inputs from PTI)