A year-long battle against the novel coronavirus has prompted the authorities to put in place a raft of social-distancing and health measures that many find inconvenient and economically damaging. Necessary as they are, some of these restrictions appear to be contradictory, raising questions as to whether they have been carefully thought through. Adding to the concern is a lack of consideration for the plight of those affected. That is why many have bombarded the government with compensation claims, while others are getting around the rules to continue making a living. The measures were introduced with good intentions to help curb the spread of the virus. But those who lose their means of living may think otherwise. The restrictions are often imposed without taking into account the unique circumstances of some industries; they can even appear to be anomalous when put together. The cancellation of the Lunar New Year flower market is a case in point. Experts urge tougher crowd controls as 41 new Covid-19 cases emerge in Hong Kong With the Covid-19 fourth wave still lingering, officials believe the crowd-drawing event in early February would be too risky. This is in line with the decisions to postpone or cancel events such as the Hong Kong Book Fair. But it ignores the fact that the horticulture industry has been preparing for months for what would have been a lucrative business opportunity. It has to be asked why the government went ahead with the auction for the Lunar New Year stalls in November despite a resurgence of infections, only to then scrap the event amid a declining trend in the number of new virus cases. The proposed alternatives, such as smaller-scale fairs at public housing estates, are arguably no less risky from a public health perspective. Extended business closures and inadequate subsidies have prompted some to make a living by getting around the rules. The latest includes beauticians serving clients at home and on-demand domestic helpers in the run-up to the Lunar New Year. Home visits are not legally banned, but they are not in line with the spirit to curb infections by minimising contact among the populace. Until the pandemic is under control, compliance and vigilance must prevail. The hardship facing some underlines the need to take care of both public health and people’s livelihoods.