Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has restricted large gatherings in public places for Christmas, and revelry on New Year Eve (NYE) from December 30 to January 2 to contain the coronavirus spread in this tech hub, an official said on Friday.
“In accordance with the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Health Ministry, the state government has restricted crowding in public places like churches on the Christmas day and in pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants on NYE to prevent the virus spread,” the official told IANS here.
In a mandatory order, state Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar has enforced social-distancing and sanitisers for all church-goers, thermal screening and wearing of a mask in churches and places of worship.
“Large gatherings are banned at clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants. No dance parties and DJ (Disc Jockey) events to prevent crowding,” said the official.
The state government has also banned handshakes and hugs to avoid the virus spread and directed organisers and stakeholders to maintain physical distancing at the gatherings.
“Congregations in churches and the places of worship should adhere to social-distancing and sanitisers should be used to maintain hygiene,” said the order.
The city police have also been directed to ensure the NYE revellers do not gather in large numbers in public places like M.G. Road and Brigade Road in the city’s central business district from December 30 to January 2 to prevent the infection spreading.
Though Covid cases have been declining in the city, which accounts for 50 per cent of the southern state’s caseloads, experts fear a second wave of the virus due to cold weather and violation of the virus-induced guidelines by the citizens.
“Citizens can have the New Year eve bash in their homes and residential areas by wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and sanitising their hands to ensure their safety in the pandemic times,” added the official.
State Revenue Minister R. Ashok recently said though it was customary for people to celebrate the event on the last night of every year, the virus had devastated the country over the last nine months. The occasion should be observed solemnly and in the memory of those who lost to the pandemic.
“Public celebrations, including religious gatherings, marriages and Christmas will be limited to 200 people from December 20 to January 2, 2021. Bars, pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to host guests more than 50 per cent of their capacity at a time to ensure social distancing and their safety,” said Ashok.
A technical advisory committee, set up by the state government to contain the pandemic, said in a report that the people have to strictly follow the guidelines in December and January to prevent the second wave of infections during January and February in the city or the state.