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Festivities amidst the global pandemic: How did Georgia celebrate New Year this year?

By Veronika Malinboym
Monday, January 4
With only partial removal of the healthcare-related regulations imposed by the government earlier last year, Georgians were still able to make the most of the New Year celebrations and the temporary lifting of the 21.00 05.00 curfew.

The traditional New Year concert was held this year, however, to abide by the existing regulations and guidelines, it had no spectators attending, and was broadcasted live on TV instead. The concert stage in a form of a multi-story house was arranged at the Palace of State Ceremonies and hosted a gala concert, directed by Davit Doiashvili and Basa Potskhishvili, as well as the art director Tamar Potskhishvili and musical director Dato Evgenidze.

During his New Year address at the gala concert, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said that the year 2020 will go down in history as one of the hardest for both Georgia and the rest of the world. Mayor Kaladze added that Georgia has proven many times that it can overcome any hardship and rise from the ashes stronger than ever. Similarly, Prime Minister Gakharia underlined how Georgia was celebrating this beloved holiday in a very unusual way and applauded the collective responsibility of the Georgian citizens who chose to celebrate the New Year modestly, in the closest family circles.

PM Gakharia congratulated Georgian citizens, both within the country and abroad, as well as Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers, and added that it is only in unity with them that Georgia can truly strive as a strong and successful country with a bright future ahead.

Yesterday, the shopping malls that were opened for the period of New Year and Christmas celebrations (December 24 January 2) are closed again and will only be offering their services remotely. Food, household chemicals, and hygiene, as well as animal supplies, remain open, and so do pharmacies, open-air agrarian markets, and veterinary clinics. The intercity public transports are still not available, and the effective curfew between 21.00 05.00 remains in place, except for Orthodox Christmas (January 7), when it will be temporarily lifted. The discussion on whether the new measures will be imposed, or whether the existing ones will be prolonged or lifted altogether, will not be held earlier than in 10 days, and the final decision will depend on the state of the epidemiological situation within the country.