Mayors call for nationwide firework ban, but ministers don’t see the need

New Year fireworks in Enschede. Photo:
New Year fireworks in Enschede. Photo:

Mayors united in the 25 regional safety boards have written to the government urging it to bring in a nationwide ban on fireworks during the New Year celebrations.

The annual firework frenzy every year results in hundreds of people being taken to hospital, and given the soaring coronavirus cases, this will put unfair pressure on the healthcare system, the mayors said in a letter to justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus.

In addition, contact between large groups of people must be restricted because of the risk of spreading the virus, the mayors say.

Amsterdam has already decided to ban fireworks altogether, and has abandoned plans for council-funded shows on the Museumplein and in several districts. Other cities are still deciding what to do.

Fireworks were banned last year, although the ban was widely flouted in places. Nevertheless, the number of people taken to hospital  – usually around 1,000 – was down by around 70%.

Cabinet meeting

The cabinet is due to take a formal decision on Friday afternoon, but several media outlets have reported that ministers have decided against a blanket ban.

Ministers say that the situation this year is very different to 2020, when there was both a lockdown and no vaccination, and that there is therefore no need to ban fireworks outright.

The cabinet had asked its own health advisors for their opinion on the matter, but the OMT reportedly said did not have the right information to make formal recommendations.

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