Netherlands bans fireworks over New Year's due to Covid
The sale and lighting of fireworks will be banned throughout the Netherlands over New Year's. The caretaker Cabinet decided this during the weekly Council of Ministers on Friday, RTL Nieuws and NOS report.
On Thursday, it seemed that the Cabinet would not ban fireworks this New Year's because municipalities can take their own measures. But the pressure on hospitals is currently too high because of the coronavirus. Hundreds of fireworks victims can not be added on top of that, the Cabinet believes.
Last year, there was also a national fireworks ban due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in far fewer injuries. Hospitals treated 108 people with fireworks-related injuries, and GPs treated 275. In other years, the average number of injuries was over a thousand, according to NOS.
On Thursday, the association of Dutch municipalities VNG and the mayors on the Security Council appealed to the Cabinet to ban fireworks again this year. They too stressed that the healthcare system was under too much pressure. They also pointed out that social distancing was required to stop the spread of the coronavirus, saying that the fireworks tradition does not encourage that. Their call was supported by trauma surgeons, nurses, and general practitioners.
Before the start of the Council of Ministers on Friday, caretaker Ministers Kajsa Ollongren of Home Affairs and Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said they took the signals from the mayors very seriously. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge added that healthcare was at its limits.