Bengaluru's civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Wednesday recommended to the state government to not allow celebrations that draw crowds and revellers, especially at party hubs like Brigade Road, MG Road, Commercial Street and surrounding areas on New Year's Eve. BBMP Commissioner Manjunath Prasad met with Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R Ashoka on Thursday and discussed the concerns expressed by the BBMP's Health Department.
Manjunath Prasad said that the COVID-19 cases in Bengaluru have reduced from 7,000 per day just a few months ago to around 600 per day. This, he said, was largely due to the government's strict orders on avoiding crowds during festivals including Ganesh Chaturthi, Deepavali and Dasara.
â€œIt's December now and during winter, we fear the COVID-19 cases may increase. If revellers are allowed to party on MG Road and Brigade Road like previous years, it will increase the chances of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Hence, we have suggested to the government to not allow gathering of crowds on New Year's Eve," Manjunath Prasad added.
It is customary in Bengaluru for MG Road, Brigade Road and a portion of Residency Road to be shut down for traffic on New Year's Eve. Revellers gather in huge numbers and begin the walk from MG Road's Anil Kumble Circle to Brigade Road. The BBMP has suggested to the government that this New Year's Eve walk must not be allowed this year due to fear that the COVID-19 cases could increase.
Manjunath Prasad said that the BBMP has suggested to the government that pubs, bars and restaurants must not allow more than 50 people into their establishments on New Year's Eve to ensure physical distance is maintained.
"We don't have a problem with pubs and bars opening as long as masks are worn, hand sanitisers are used regularly and physical distance is maintained. We just don't want large crowds to gather as it will be difficult to enforce any rules with a huge number of people," he added.