Local governments yesterday announced updated disease prevention measures for tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, with restrictions on crowd sizes, after the nation last week reported its first domestic case of COVID-19 in more than eight months.
Officials encouraged would-be attendees to eat ahead of time, as eating and drinking — aside from sips of water — would not be allowed at the venues, and masks would be mandatory, adding that last-minute changes to requirements are possible.
Checkpoints would be established for taking body temperatures, providing hand sanitation and registering contact information.
Photo courtesy of the Pingtung County Government via CNA
Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the capital’s festivities would proceed as usual, but the number of attendees would be sharply reduced.
Taipei City Hall Plaza is to open at 3pm and no more than 80,000 people would be admitted, she said, warning that the number could be cut to 40,000 if necessary.
The plaza can hold about 110,000 people, but entrances to the plaza would be closed once the ceiling number is reached, she said.
Asked when the limit might be reached, Huang said experience showed that most people arrive between 6pm and 7pm, but people should not to line up before the gates open, as no one would be admitted before 3pm.
People could provide their contact information ahead of time through the TaipeiPASS (台北通) or myCode app, the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism said, adding that a QR code from one of the apps or a personal identification card must be presented at the entrance in case contact tracing becomes necessary.
Checkpoints would be erected on Songgao Road, Songshou Road and in front of the Taipei City Council, it added.
Anyone under quarantine or self-health management orders who attempts to enter would be flagged at registration, she said, adding that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms would be escorted to a hospital through a dedicated passageway.
The Taichung Information Bureau said that a maximum of 40,000 people would be allowed in Taichung Central Park, while up to 10,000 would be allowed into Renhua Park in Dali District (大里).
Attendees would also have to provide contact details either by filling out an online form ahead of time or at the entrance, or providing an identification card for scanning, bureau Director Huang Kuo-wei (黃國瑋) said.
Keelung’s New Year’s Eve event is to proceed as usual in the parking lot next to the West Passenger Terminal, although registration would be required at the venue’s single entrance, Keelung Department of Tourism and City Marketing Director-General Tseng Tzu-wen (曾姿雯) told reporters.
However, the annual flag-raising ceremony at Cheng Kung Elementary School scheduled for Friday morning has been scaled down and performances canceled, Keelung Department of Social Affairs Director Wu Ting-feng (吳挺鋒) said.
The public would still be able to attend the ceremony as long as they register and wear a mask, Wu said.
In Pingtung County, the government has recommended that New Year’s Eve revelers at the Millennium Park celebrations, where performances are to begin at 7:30pm, keep their cellphones on at all times in case of emergency.
A market in the park would open at 2pm, and food products would be sold, but they would have to remain in their packaging, the Pingtung County Cultural Affairs Bureau said.
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