New Year’s Eve festivities scaled back

Covid-19 lockdown orders and restrictions have dashed hopes of Bulawayo residents who were looking forward to ringing in the New Year with celebrations across the city.

Due to the surge in Covid-19 cases, authorities have ordered citizens to adhere to the regulations and scale down whatever they had planned for the night.

Addressing the nation Friday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the Covid-19 lockdown by another two weeks and maintained that curfew still remains from 9pm to 5am.

Police have also issued orders warning that revellers, motorists or anyone found moving after the 9pm curfew will be arrested.

They have also outlawed the use of firecrackers saying their use is illegal including playing loud music at homes or in vehicles, beating drums or bins, burning tyres, skidding and throwing rubbish on the streets.

“In short, they are telling people flat out to cancel out their plans. Traditionally such practices are what people do to welcome the New Year,” said Marilyn Ncube, a resident of Queens Park West.

However, people have been seen buying firecrackers heading to their homes and vendors did not stop selling them despite threats made by police that anyone found in possession of them will be arrested.

On Wednesday, Bulawayo Provincial Police Spokesperson, Inspector Abednico Ncube repeated warnings that people should avoid large New Year’s Eve gatherings and stick with family.

“We wanted to celebrate the end of the year, of course in a safe and organised manner but it seems due to the renewed coronavirus surge and repeated warnings by the police, people have to spend the New Year’s Eve at home,” said Robert Jack from Northend suburb.

Meanwhile, South Africa lifted a midnight to 4AM curfew on people’s movement with immediate effect, believing the southern African country has passed the peak of its fourth Covid-19 wave driven by the Omicron variant.

The country made the changes based on the trajectory of the pandemic, levels of vaccination in the country and available capacity in the health sector, according to a press release issued by Mondli Gungubele, a minister in the presidency.

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