'Lonely festival' as Covid-19 affects Mid-Autumn plans in Hong Kong

  • Although the holiday is usually time for family reunions and big dinners, the coronavirus pandemic means these traditions are cancelled 
  • 'Golden Week' usually means tonnes of visitors in the city, but travel restrictions make it impossible this year
Kelly Fung |

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Visitors generally flock to Hong Kong during 'Golden Week', but tourism in the city has taken a hit because of the coronavirus. Photo: SCMP/ Sam Tsang

With the Mid-Autumn Festival kicking off on Thursday, Hong Kong teenagers have mixed feelings about spending the four-day holiday indoors. While the festival is a time for family reunions and eating out in restaurants, having a big family dinner has become almost impossible, with group gatherings restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Janice Mak, a Form Four student at Sacred Heart Canossian College, said she plans to leave  the city for the first time in a while and connect with nature. She thinks this year’s festival will be rather muted and lonely. 

“Without the usual boisterous family reunion, it certainly feels too quiet,” Janice said.

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Shruti Kaur, a Year 11 student from YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, said she did not expect  to see many people celebrating the festival outside their homes this time.

“I am really excited about the festival but I will not be surprised to see fewer people coming out with their children to play with lanterns,” said Shruti.

She believed that safety should come before tradition. “It is completely understandable,” she  said. “Safety comes first, while traditions lie in our soul and heart.”

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The Covid-19 pandemic has paralysed the city’s tourism industry. Visitors from the mainland, Macau and Taiwan are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Hong Kong. 

Many Hongkongers are turning to shopping and hotel deals, and local attractions to celebrate.

“Golden Week” usually sees hotels fill up with visitors, but that will not be the case this year. In 2018, about 1.5 million mainlanders came to Hong Kong over the holiday. That number dropped more than 55 per cent to about 672,000 last year due to the city’s anti-government protests.

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