The Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) announced in a statement on Thursday that it has decided to cancel Macao’s annual six-day period for the selling and lighting of firecrackers and fireworks at designated areas during the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday next month, as the pyrotechnic articles cannot be transported to Macao due to the suspension of operations at Beihai Port in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The statement also said that the bureau will refund the fees to the winning bidders who had obtained a permit to sell firecrackers and fireworks in the city’s two designated areas for the use of the products during next month’s CNY period.
Chinese New Year falls on 12 February.
The use and selling of firecrackers and fireworks is prohibited in Macao except in the officially designated areas for such activities during the CNY period.
Last year, the government kept the traditional CNY activity of people lighting firecrackers or fireworks in the two designated areas – which took place in late January 2020, amid the first emergence of COVID-19 in Macao a few days before, with the implementation of COVID-19 prevention and control measures in place in the two areas.
Macao confirmed its first COVID-19 case on 22 January. Chinese New Year in 2020 fell on 25 January.
Customarily, there are two designated areas for the selling and letting-off of firecrackers and fireworks during the CNY period every year – an area in the Zone B reclamation area near Macau Tower, and the reclamation area in front of Estrada Almirante Marques Esparteiro on the northern waterfront of Taipa.
Beihai Port’s improvement work
Thursday statement said that the winning bidders – who were initially slated to operate firecrackers and fireworks booths in the two areas during the upcoming CNY period – have told the bureau that Beihai Port, which is used by the manufacturers to export firecrackers and fireworks to Macao, is undergoing an improvement project so that the port’s operation has been suspended since New Year’s Day.
The IAM statement pointed out that since 2016 firecrackers and fireworks produced in the mainland must be transported to Macao by sea only, adding that the mainland authorities require that such products can be loaded onto ships only in the ports that have been officially designated to handle such items to ensure safety.
Thursday’s IAM statement said that due to the suspension of Beihai Port’s operation, the firecrackers and fireworks cannot be transported to Macao in line with the mainland’s official requirements.
The statement said that “after an assessment”, the bureau has decided to cancel the selling and letting-off of firecrackers and fireworks at the two designated areas for this year’s CNY period.
The statement pointed out that the two designated areas were initially slated to open from 11 February (Chinese New Year’s Eve) to the night of 16 February (the fifth day of the Chinese New Year).
The statement pointed out that the bureau held a bidding process last month for eight booths in the Zone B letting-off area and five booths in the Taipa letting-off area. All 13 booths were awarded to the winning bidders at the minimum price MOP 5,000 each, the statement pointed out.
According to previous IAM statistics, over the past few years, several thousand boxes of firecrackers and fireworks were imported by Macao for the annual CNY period each year.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Sam Lau