Coronavirus: designated driver service cancelled this New Year’s Eve
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Coronavirus: designated driver service cancelled this New Year’s Eve

© Belga

An association offering safe car rides to party-goers in Belgium has said that it will not offer its services during New Year’s Eve (NYE) this year due to the coronavirus restrictions.

The Association of Responsible Young Drivers announced on Wednesday that it would suspend its yearly designated driver service, which allows those who have had a bit much too drink on NYE to be driven home by a member of the association.

“Unfortunately we can’t help you out of need this New Year’s Eve,” the group wrote on Facebook. “Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we are forced to call our campaign off.”

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The association called on the public to celebrate the evening without breaking Belgium’s coronavirus restrictions by staying home and within their social bubble.

Each New Year’s Eve, the organisation partners with automakers to set up a call-in service for those who have drunk too much to drive home safely.

The service runs from midnight to 6:00 AM on NYE and allows people to ask that a designated driver take over their vehicle to drive them home. The service does not offer rides between different parties.

Last year, around a hundred voluntary drivers with the group assisted some 450 residents in Belgium who were not in a state to drive themselves home after a NYE party.

While leaders in Belgium yielded to calls for mild relaxations on social contacts for Christmas, they did not relax the rules for 31 December.

On the 24 and 25 of December, leaders said that households could invite a maximum of four guests with whom social distancing guidelines needed to be followed.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times