File image: People record fireworks on mobile phones at the Gateway of India monument on New Year's Day in Mumbai, India on January 1, 2020. (Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas)
Various cities in India and around the world have imposed restrictions on New Year’s Eve celebrations amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. While the Maharashtra government has so far not issued specific rules for the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, existing restrictions remain in force.
It is to be noted that the general lockdown rules will remain in place in Maharashtra till at least January 21, 2021. Additionally, a night curfew has been imposed between 11.00 pm and 6.00 am in municipal areas of the state.
Here is what is allowed and not allowed in Mumbai on New Year’s Eve:
House and terrace parties will be allowed to go on even after 11.00 pm. However, it has to be in a small group with a limited number of people. Physical distancing, face masks and other safety protocols need to be maintained. What comprises a “small group”? The number has not been defined and would depend on the available space.
Police can take action if they suspect overcrowding or if there is a complaint about noise and nuisance. You cannot hold a party on boats, in banquet halls, etc. on December 31.
Travelling in cars, on bikes after 11 pm
You can travel after 11.00 pm as long as there are a maximum of four people in the car (or two people in case of a bike). However, you can expect heavy police deployment and checking at various locations. Besides the passenger limit, the police will be trying to ensure no one is driving drunk, over speeding or causing public nuisance.
Tackling drunk driving: While using breathalysers would not be possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic, specialised police units will take drivers who appear drunk to hospitals for blood tests, according to a report by The Indian Express.
No restrictions have been imposed on public transport. Unlike the past, no special trains or busses will run after midnight to help revellers reach home.
However, taxis will have to ensure that no more than four people (including the driver) are in the vehicle.
Will restaurants, pubs, bars remain open?
Restaurants, pubs and bars will close at their regular time due to the lockdown measures.
Essential services and food delivery will continue, as usual. You will be able to order food from restaurants using platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy.
What about visiting Gateway of India, Marine Drive?
Authorities are discouraging gatherings in public places. Police are unlikely to impose restrictions as long as people are in small groups and they are maintaining safety protocols. However, the police could restrict entry to certain planes and disperse if a public place starts getting congested.