Mayors call for complete ban on fireworks this New Year's
The Security Council, the council of the mayors that head the 25 security regions in the Netherlands, called on the government to ban the lighting and sale of fireworks around New Year's this year. The healthcare system, which is already strained by the coronavirus pandemic, cannot handle the hundreds of fireworks injuries that happen every New Year's, Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and head of the Security Council, said on Monday, NU.nl reports.
Last week parties in healthcare, enforcers, and police unions also called for fireworks to be banned this year. They argued that police and enforcers already have their hands full with enforcing the coronavirus measures, and hospitals are already overflowing with coronavirus patients. Adding the fireworks chaos around New Year's to that workload would be too much.
"We support that call specifically for this year," Bruls said after the weekly Security Council meeting on Monday. "There are a number of good medical arguments for this. GPs and hospitals then have less patients to care for, where they are already busy with people who have come into contact with corona." According to Bruls, a majority of the mayors in the Security Council were in favor of a "far-reaching restriction on the lighting of fireworks", as well as a ban on the sale of fireworks for one year.
"There are already municipalities that are going to ban the lighting of fireworks. We now say: by prohibiting the lighting and sale of fireworks, you provide the most clarity," Bruls said.
Mayors can ban the lighting of fireworks, but do not have the authority to ban the sale. That will have to come from the central government. A nationwide ban on the lighting will also make enforcement easier.
Bruls acknowledged that there will be resistance from Netherlands residents emphasizing the fun of the New Year's fireworks tradition, but according to him, that can't matter this year. "We are in the worst crisis since World War II. We all need to go back a notch in the things we normally enjoy a lot."