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Curfew Restrictions Remain in Place During New Year’s Eve, Fireworks Prohibited

Fanni Kaszás 2020.12.16.

In early December, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that the curfew restrictions would be extended until January 11th. The public will be informed on December 21st about a possible suspension on Christmas Eve, but New Year’s Eve will certainly not be an exception. In addition, fireworks will also be prohibited on  New Year’s Eve, much to the delight of dog owners.

The current restrictive measures will remain in place until January 11th, which means that people can only be on the streets between 8 pm and 5 am in certain cases. Whether there will be an exceptional rule for Christmas Eve will be decided on December 21st. Orbán said that New Year’s Eve parties and street parades certainly cannot be held this year, adding that for a good party, it’s not worth risking everything we’ve worked on for months.

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Gergely Gulyás, the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office reiterated that there would certainly be a curfew on New Year’s Eve, as most of the time at celebrations, big crowds come together, which would jeopardize the results of weeks of defense, the politician said. He added that no decision had yet been made on Christmas. Everyone would be happy if families could be together, the minister said, but he stressed the most important thing was to slow down the spread of the virus.

Fireworks prohibited this year

Last year, fireworks were sold at about seven hundred outlets across the country. Pyrotechnic devices fall into three categories: fireworks in the first and second categories can be used, owned, and purchased all year. However, typically, New Year’s Eve products are in the third category, which can only be purchased between December 28-31st at outlets.

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In past years, these were only allowed to be used from 6 pm on December 31st to 6 am on January 1st. People were also obliged to return the unused fireworks to the seller until January 5th. Possession of non-returned third category fireworks is a violation of the rules, with a penalty of up to HUF 150,000 (EUR 422). However, since this year there is now a curfew between 8pm and 5am, this means that if policymakers didn’t make a concession, there would have been only three hours left this New Year’s Eve for public use of fireworks.

Meanwhile, the PMO Chief has announced a ban on the sale of fireworks this year. Although it seemed like this would ban fireworks, animal rights activists feared that people would still use fireworks in private gardens and balconies. Gulyás confirmed that not only the sale of firecrackers and fireworks, but also their use will be strictly prohibited on New Year’s Eve.

Featured photo illustration by Tamás Sóki/MTI