The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) announced in a statement on Wednesday that it has decided to cancel this year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) market, as well as the traditional period for the operation of incense and windmill booths during the upcoming CNY period, after taking into account the latest development in “the Covid-19 epidemic situations in neighbouring regions”.
The statement also said that the bureau will refund fees to the winning bidders who had obtained a permit to operate booths at the annual CNY market as well as those who had obtained a permit to run incense and windmill booths.
Customarily, there are two CNY markets that take place in Macao in the run-up to Chinese New Year – i.e. from the 23rd day to the last day of the last month on the lunar calendar, the main one taking place in Praça do Tap Seac and the other one in Iao Hon Market Park.
The statement pointed out that the bureau held a bidding process in November last year for the booths at the two CNY markets and the incense and windmill booths outside the temples. After the bidding process, the bureau had already cancelled the CNY market in Iao Hon Market Park as many of the booths had no bidders.
The CNY market in Praça do Tap Seac was initially slated to open from 4 February (the 23rd day of the last month on the lunar calendar) to 11 February (Chinese New Year’s Eve).
The bureau’s decision to cancel this year’s CNY market and operation of incense and windmill booths came after reports of domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases in a number of cities in the mainland over recent weeks, such as Beijing as well as Dalian and Shenyang in Liaoning province, and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province. The situation in Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei, has turned out to be particularly serious, resulting in a de facto lockdown.
Wednesday’s IAM statement said that the bureau has been paying close attention to the latest Covid-19 situation, adding that it will constantly adjust the city’s municipal work and measures in line with the latest developments in “the Covid-19 epidemic situations in neighbouring regions”.
The statement also said that neighbouring cities such as Foshan, Jiangmen, Qingyuan, Shenzhen, Yangjiang, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai have also cancelled this year’s CNY markets.