Thursday 09 December 2021

Nationwide firework ban for New Year, as ministers listen to mayors

New Year fireworks in Amsterdam. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Fireworks will be banned again this New Year, ministers decided at Friday’s cabinet meeting, broadcaster RTL Nieuws has reported.

The pressure on the hospitals is so great that it would be wrong to add to that with hundreds of firework victims, ministers are quoted as saying. Fireworks were also banned during the 2020 New Year celebrations.

Mayors united in the 25 regional safety boards wrote to the government urging it to bring in a nationwide ban after government sources suggested there would not be any national restrictions.

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 said.

Amsterdam had 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%.

Last year, firework sellers were compensated for the loss of sales by the government, and similar measures are expected in 2021, website Nu.nl reported.

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