POLICE have revoked the permission which had been granted to churches intending to hold crossover gatherings into the New Year saying every other gatherings including the use of fire crackers, skidding of vehicles, beating and overturning of bins and drums in residential areas are banned.
Some churches had been granted permission to hold crossover prayers but police have said the permission is no longer applicable and people should stay at home and avoid any kind of gathering.
All big gatherings are illegal according to Covid-19 restrictions meant to curb the spread of the global pandemic.
Traditionally crossover celebrations are conducted to mark the end of the year and welcome the New Year.
In the past, these parties have been held at nightclubs, at individual family houses and other such places where people would gather to enjoy food and drinks as they celebrate the end of the year and welcome the New Year. Most of these parties would end after midnight.
The increase in new Covid-19 cases being recorded countrywide has prompted Government to ban all big gatherings as part of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The country had by Tuesday recorded 13 325 Cases, 11 067 recoveries and 359 Deaths.
Active cases stand at 1 899 and 302 of those are in Bulawayo while 407 are in Matabeleland South province.
The festive season has seen an upsurge in Covid-19 cases and of late the country is recording more than 100 new cases daily.
In a statement, the national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said all Covid-19 regulations were still in place despite the festive season which people are recklessly celebrating.
“As the country joins the rest of the world in celebrating the New Year’s Eve on the night of 31 December 2020, the Zimbabwe Republic Police cautions the public against the holding of unsanctioned parties, use of fire crackers, skidding of vehicles, beating and overturning of bins and drums in residential, business and other areas as a way of celebrating the New Year’s Eve,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He warned that the country is still under Covid-19 national lockdown and all regulations put in place by the Government for health, safety and security are still in force.
“No all-night prayers, musical galas or concerts are allowed. Operators of bars and nightclubs should take note that they are yet to be allowed to operate.
The public should remain peaceful on 31 December 2020 and act in a responsible manner to curb crime,” said Asst Com Nyathi.
He said children, especially the girl child should be monitored and protected from criminal elements.
“Police will intensify patrols, conduct stop and searches in all residential, industrial, farming and other areas where the public will be undertaking various activities. Let us celebrate the New Year’s Eve in a responsible manner and remain alert for the safety of all Zimbabweans and effective maintenance of law and order in the country,” he said.
Asst Comm Nyathi said police recorded an increase in rape cases during the Christmas and Boxing Day period and are concerned that the trend my continue during New Year celebrations.
“We want people to be responsible as they welcome the New Year given that this year is different because of the Covid-19 pandemic that restricts gatherings. People need to consider their safety first because it appears that there are people out there who want to take advantage of these illegal gatherings to commit crimes. The crossover gatherings also expose people to the pandemic hence the police will not allow such gatherings,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.