As the Macao SAR Government maintains during Chinese New Year its guard against the COVID-19 pandemic, public festivities have been called off to avoid crowding and reduce infection risk.
Chinese New Year falls on 12 February this year, and residents in Mainland China enjoy a seven-day break to mark the holiday. Streets and squares around Macao are already adorned with festive decorations to usher in the Year of the Ox, the designation under the Chinese zodiac.
The festival is usually a peak season for tourism in Macao. In previous years, the city has been filled with visitors from Greater China during the Chinese New Year. However, this year health authorities on the Mainland are advising people to avoid travel during the holiday period. Macao’s health and labour authorities also have called on locals and non-resident workers to avoid any unnecessary travel. This official advice is offered as a precaution against spreading COVID-19.
The festive activities traditionally hosted by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) to celebrate Chinese New Year, will not go ahead this time. Initiatives called off include: the activities traditionally held at the Ruins of St. Paul’s and in Senado Square to wish good fortune to passers-by; the Golden Dragon Parade; and the Parade for Celebration of the Chinese New Year, which usually brings festive floats onto the city’s streets.
In addition, restrictions imposed on cross-boundary logistics have put on hold the Fireworks for Celebration of the Chinese New Year.
The Municipal Affairs Bureau has also cancelled several initiatives it usually arranges for Chinese New Year. The customary Lunar New Year flower markets in Tap Seac Square and at Iao Hon Market Garden will not be open this year. Pop-up stalls selling joss sticks and pinwheels in the surroundings of A-Má Temple are not permitted. In addition, the usual temporary designated areas for people to buy and set off festive firecrackers and fireworks will not be set up this year, due to restrictions imposed on cross-boundary logistics.