Stalls offering ready-to-eat food or beverages and free food samples would be banned at this year’s Lunar New Year market on Dihua Street (迪化街) in Taipei’s Datong District (大同) as part of the city’s COVID-19 prevention efforts, the Taipei City Government said yesterday.
It would be the first time that the stalls would be banned at the annual market.
The market usually opens two weeks before the Lunar New Year, offering customers foodstuffs and snacks for the holiday. This year’s market is to open on Jan. 28 and run through Feb. 10.
Photo: Yang Hsin-hui, Taipei Times
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) on Tuesday reported that the Taipei health and environmental protection departments as well as the Office of Commerce on Monday last week held a session at Dihua Street to explain the disease prevention measures.
Food vendors who have already rented stalls are upset by the policy, while a local storeowner said that sales might drop 10 to 20 percent, the report said.
Taipei City Office of Commerce Director Kao Chen-yuan (高振源) yesterday said the city government at the explanation session said that new ready-to-eat food or drink stalls cannot be set up and food samples cannot be offered, while visitors to the market must wear masks.
Existing ready-to-eat food or drink stores would not be affected by the policy, but setting up temporary stalls would be prohibited, he said.
While some vendors have expressed different opinions, most of them are willing to cooperate with the city’s COVID-19 prevention measures, Kao said.
The city government would dispatch personnel to some of the street’s main intersections to remind visitors to wear masks, he said.
The office would also help print posters to inform visitors that food samples would not be offered, he added.
Asked whether crowd control measures would be implemented, Kao said that people at the market usually shop freely at different stalls and the venue is not a confined indoor environment, so the office does not have such plans yet.
The office would follow the Central Epidemic Command Center’s instructions and make changes if needed, he added.
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