- Last week, the government said the traditional Lunar New Year event would be cancelled, but changed plans on Monday
- Florists say the decision came too late, and question the wisdom of holding such an event during the Covid-19 pandemic
Hong Kong’s florists are feeling a little lost after the government changed its mind about the Lunar New Year flower markets. They have been told that the markets would now be allowed at the traditional major venues.
This comes after authorities announced last Monday that the fairs would be cancelled.
Many florists say the change in plans is too late, as they have already sought alternative locations or changed their sales strategy.
Some also question the wisdom of going ahead with such large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Politicians, however, welcomed the move, although they accused the administration of mishandling the situation and failing to communicate with florists before the decision to cancel because of the pandemic.
Flower markets are traditionally held across the city every Lunar New Year, involving thousands of florists and festive goods vendors, with Victoria Park in Causeway Bay the biggest venue.
Last Monday, florists stormed out of a meeting with health officials after they accused the government of failing to compensate them for financial losses following what they said was an abrupt cancellation of fairs originally planned for February.
Local orchid farmer Yeung Siu-lung had planned to set up 16 stalls at the flower markets in Victoria Park and Tuen Mun but said he probably wouldn’t do that now because he had already applied for a refund over the booths.
“Is the government playing us? How exactly will the government reinstall its plans to open the flower markets? ” asked Yeung, who prepared more than 30,000 pots of orchids this year and expected losses of up to HK$3 million.
5 ways to be more environmentally friendly as you welcome the Year of the Ox Peach blossom seller Lau Hoi-to, who planned to set up about 16 stalls in Victoria Park, said he had already received a refund for his stalls.
“The government should not have cancelled the fairs in the first place,” he said. “Does the virus target only Lunar New Year fairs, but not other social events? No.”