HK's Lunar New Year fairs are back on again - RTHK
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HK's Lunar New Year fairs are back on again

2021-01-19 HKT 19:09
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  • HK's Lunar New Year fairs are back on again
Just a little over a week after the government announced that Hong Kong's traditional Lunar New Year fairs cannot be held this year, they're back on again – albeit with a string of conditions.

On January 8, the government declared that the fairs could not go ahead as planned because of the coronavirus situation in the territory.

But on Tuesday, Health Secretary Sophia Chan announced that there had been a change of heart and the fairs will go ahead at the 15 original venues.

The markets will operate with just half the stalls originally allocated. A lottery will be held to see who gets to keep the stalls, but authorities say they will work to make sure all bidders who won multiple stalls would be allocated at least one.

No charge will be levied.

Authorities will also go high-tech to implement crowd control measures.

The director for food and environmental hygiene Vivian Lau said each fair will be split up into smaller areas, and “infrared sensors will be installed at the entrance and exit of each individual enclosed area so that the number of persons could be computed, and if the capacity is exceed, an alert will be disseminated to the public on site, on a dedicated web page, and through radio [and] television if needed.”

A 'traffic light' system will be implemented at the fairs to either allow, slow, or stop people entering specific zones.

When an area is deemed to be full, people will have to queue up in waiting areas while being socially distanced.

Sophia Chan added that all flower vendors will be tested for Covid ahead of time; and must provide a list of all staff members to help contact tracing efforts if needed.

“There are all these infection control measures, such as taking temperatures, controlling the crowds, as well as hand sanitiser and also social distancing measures… We believe that we have tried our best to lower the infection risk" she said.

The secretary said that those going to the fairs will be invited to make use of the government's coronavirus contact-tracing "Leave Home Safe" app.

This will involve scanning a QR code so the system knows who is at the fairs and when.

The government recently said that the app would start recording users' whereabouts automatically in future.

Chan said the new arrangements strike a better balance between its anti-epidemic efforts, the interests of flower farmers, and the public's demand for fresh flowers for the festive season.

Last updated: 2021-01-19 HKT 21:16