VIJAYAWADA/VISAKHAPATNAM/RAJAHMUNDRY: Andhra Pradesh has prohibited public celebrations of 2022 New Year Eve on Friday owing to threat from fast-multiplying Omicron variant of Coronavirus. Police have banned midnight gatherings in public places under Section 30 of the Police Act and Section 144 of the CrPC. Any gathering of more than five persons will be prohibited.
Ban on public festivities in the state has come by way of orders issued by top police officers of various cities, towns and districts on Thursday. Crowds, festivities and cake cuttings have been prohibited in public spaces and parks. Bursting of firecrackers is prohibited in public places. Restrictions will be in force till Saturday morning.
In his communiqué, Vijayawada city police commissioner Kanthi Rana Tata has requested people to stay away from crowds due to Omicron threat and celebrate New Year within the confines of their homes. He said that major flyovers in the city, including Benz, Kanaka Durga and PCR flyovers will be closed for traffic on December 31 night. Restrictions will be in force on main thoroughfares like Bandar, Eluru and BRTS roads. Traffic will be restrained.
The city police commissioner said prior permission must be obtained to hold ceremonies in clubs, restaurants and other places. Only up to 60 percent of seating capacity must be filled. Social distancing and other Covid regulations should be followed. DJs and sound systems that make loud noise cannot be used.
Meanwhile, Visakhapatnam police commissioner Manish Kumar Sinha announced that the entire Beach Road stretch from Yarada to Bheemili covering 50 km will be closed from 6 p.m. on Friday. Only essential and emergency services will be allowed.
Around 2,000 police personnel will be deployed all over Port City to check any violations. Denizens have been requested to stay indoors and ring in the New Year with their families.
Sinha said police will act tough on bikers speeding in an inebriated condition in the name of New Year. "We will keep 120 breath analysers ready to check the drunken driving at various locations," ADCO (Traffic) Adinarayana told Deccan Chronicle.
Restaurants, bars and retail liquor shops will be allowed to remain open as per regular timings. But Covid-19 norms will have to be followed.
Announcing various restrictions over the New Year Eve, East Godavari superintendent of police M. Ravindranath Babu said special police teams have been formed to control large gatherings in public spaces from December 31 evening. Vigil will be stepped up in the night.
Rajamahendravaram Urban SP Aishwarya Rastogi said all commercial establishments should be closed by 10 p.m. and all bars, restaurants and liquor shops must down shutters by 11 p.m. on Friday. Otherwise, stringent action would be taken against them.
West Godavari district police chief Rahul Dev Sarma asked people to take all precautionary measures against Omicron while adhering to restrictions imposed by police....