Reminder: Fireworks banned through much of Prague on New Year's Eve

Since December, the use of fireworks in central Prague has been prohibited; the city reminds residents that the ban also applies to New Year's Eve

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 20.12.2020 14:50 (updated on 20.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

A new decree banning the use of fireworks in the historic center of Prague and other areas has been in effect since the start of December. Ahead of the end-of-year holidays, the city is reminding residents that the ban also applies to New Year's Eve.

In past years, an exception to restrictions on the use of fireworks in Prague's historic center was made for a brief window on New Year's Eve, resulting in widespread use throughout the city's streets and especially in Old Town and Wenceslas squares.

The new ban does not apply to licensed professional shows using fireworks, such as traditional fireworks shows sponsored by the city. However, Prague will not be organizing a fireworks or videomapping show this New Year due to COVID-19 concerns.

"The celebrations of the arrival of the new year will be different than in previous years - more intimate, but it does not have to mean worse," says Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib in a press release.

"I would like to call on the people of Prague to celebrate New Year's Eve in the circle of their loved ones and to perceive this day as an opportunity to evaluate the past year, which was perhaps extremely challenging, but it taught us a lot."

"If the city's finances allow for it next year, we will be happy to return to the celebrations in the form of videomapping with music. But I personally would prefer a drone show. The wild firing of pyrotechnics is simply a relic, and it is vanishing from other European capitals as well."

In general, the ban covers all areas in Prague's historical center as well as areas in the vicinity (within 50 meters) of the city's parks and waterways, including the Vltava river. It also applies to areas near (within 250 meters) hospitals and social service facilities.

The aim of the new ban is to increase the safety of residents - each year numerous fireworks-related injuries are reported on New Year's Eve - as well as reduce the noise and disturbance that results in the deaths of numerous animals in the city every year.

"Every year, the city center was reminiscent of the battlefield during the New Year's celebrations. There were often various injuries not only to humans but also to animals. Every year we had to treat a lot of injured wild animals, especially swans," says Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček.

"This year, a new decree bans the firing of firecrackers and rockets in the city center, near waterways and nature reserves. We believe that the city center will be safer for both people and animals."

The ban covers most over-the-counter fireworks, which are still being sold in many Prague shops and supermarkets. DIY retailer Hornbach has stopped selling fireworks entirely, while grocer Penny is offering "silent" varieties.

Information about the fireworks ban has been posted in relevant areas throughout the city of Prague, and also shared online through social media.

Prague police will monitor compliance with the regulation on New Year's Eve and have the authority to issue on-the-spot fines of up to 10,000 crowns. The fine can go up to 100,000 crowns if the violation is brought to administrative proceedings.

An interactive map detailing the areas in which fireworks are prohibited can be found on the official website of the City of Prague.

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