Hyderabad: Ban on NYE gatherings leaves party-goers dejected; businesses take hit too

Hyderabad: In view of the new strain of COVID-19 that emerged in the United Kingdom (UK) that is known to be fast-spreading across countries, Cyberabad Commissioner of Police VC Sajjanar, on Friday, announced that all kinds of public entertainment programs would be banned on New Year’s Eve (NYE). 

Though prohibitory orders have not been issued so far, the party-goers in the city are already dejected. “Though we are aware of the situation, we wanted to make the occasion count by celebrating the new year in a grand manner, by taking necessary precautions. All of our plans have gone in vain,” lamented a final-year engineering student from Chaitanya Bharati Institute of Technology (CBIT), who planned to celebrate NYE in a city pub with his friends.

The party-goers are in for no respite as gatherings in residential complexes are not allowed, the police said. An apartment society in Somajiguda, which usually conducts NYE celebrations until 2 am, banned having any gatherings–including house parties with guests from outside– with a scare of the second wave of COVID-19. “We just want to play it safe this time around,” said Raghu, secretary of that apartment’s association.

Some of them, however, are wary. Pradeep, an IT professional and resident of Nallakunta, said: “This year, I want to avoid parties of any sort, whether small or big. Self-regulation is the key, partying can wait. I will wholly comply with the ban on gatherings.”

Party businesses take a hit too

The ban on gathering directly hit those involved in the business strongly–including event managers, managements of hotels, pubs and clubs, entertainers and staff involved. Every year, the party venues in the twin cities hold celebrations on a grand note inviting celebrities from Mumbai and Delhi.

A manager of a popular pub in Jubliee Hills, which draws crowd in large numbers for its NYE themed parties, said, “Every year, we earn at least 10 lakhs for the sale on tickets alone. Apart from being shut due to lockdown, this ban adds to our woes.” 

“We are currently running in losses,” he said, adding that holding a full-fledged event too would be very expensive.

Mitilesh, owner of a club in Jubliee weighed in too. “We are still clearing the debts due to the losses incurred during the lockdown. So this year it is a bit expensive for organizing NYE events, right from inviting popular singers, DJ players, installing food stalls and offering alcohol,” he said.

“It’s too risky this time observing the increasing COVID-19 infections in the state,” a hotelier said, adding that in case an event is organized, there cannot be a large number of attendees.

City-based musicians, who usually are booked for the entire week before the new year, are idle. “Except for a private party on the NYE, there are no bookings in hand for now,” said Sandilya, a musician. Another sound technician, who freelances for a popular club in Film Nagar and works with different bands, also has no offers for the NYE. “I believe it is for our own safety,” he said.