Last updated 5 months ago by Michael Darmanin
The year will not end the usual way in the Netherlands this time. The Dutch government last week announced a one-off ban on traditional fireworks.
The health workers are overburdened due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the government believes this ban will be a great help to them. “New Year’s Eve has always been an exceptionally busy evening and night for our emergency services. But now certainly because of the coronavirus. That is why the Cabinet is now introducing a fireworks’ ban for this year. Let’s help our healthcare providers, police officers, and fire brigade officials as a society,” Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said in a statement released by the Dutch Cabinet. According to reports, the mayors, local safety board chiefs as well as police wanted the ban.
In addition, a fine of at least 100 euros will be imposed on people who set off fireworks. This also means an automatic criminal record for the offender.
However, the sellers had already bought their stock for the celebrations. Thus, the government is offering them a 40-million euros package to store their stock at safe and designated locations for the next year’s celebrations.
The government says light crackers such as hand-held sparklers are allowed. Though the ban might be disappointing for the fireworks industry as well as the celebrators, but will definitely help the staff at the hospitals who are already working extra hours due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, Dutch spent around 60 million euros on fireworks for New Year’s Eve celebrations, according to reports. However, the government is expected to announce what all Christmas and New Year’s celebrations will be allowed in the country.
The fireworks are part of the Netherlands’ New Year’s celebrations for centuries. They became more popular in the 1950s. The country is known to end the year with a bang, and people are out on the streets during midnight bursting firecrackers worth tens of millions of euros. Some major cities also host large-scale shows attracting a huge crowd. The streets kind of becomes war zones where rival groups of revellers light crackers towards each other. Thus, the year-end becomes one of the busiest times for the hospitals as they receive people with several kinds of injuries due to pyrotechnics. According to reports, around 1,300 people last year went to doctors or hospitals for fireworks-related injuries on New Year’s Eve.
At present, the coronavirus cases in the country are on a downward trajectory, but still at around 6,000 a day. However, as per reports more than half of the country’s 609 intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.