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New arrangements for flower fairs

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government today announced that it will arrange for flower farmers to sell New Year flowers and potted plants at the 15 sites originally designated for the Lunar New Year fairs, where crowd control and stringent infection control measures will be implemented.   At a media session this evening, Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan said the Government has been maintaining communication with flower farmers after the Lunar New Year fairs were cancelled.   It decided to reduce the scale of selling New Year flowers to minimise the risk of group gatherings, while at the same time responding to the community's demands.   She said: "After careful consideration and listening to the comments of the flower farmers, we have decided on a very controlled and regulated situation at the sites for the Lunar New Year fairs.   "For the 15 sites that we have identified, we have decided that with a huge reduction in the number of stalls - that is about 50%, and together with a series of new measures that we have identified such as the innovation and technology surveillance system to monitor and manage these crowds coming to the fairs as well as very stringent infection control measures within the sites as well as for the people, that is the flower farmers as well as their staff.   "So, as far as the sites are concerned, obviously there are all these infection control measures such as taking temperature, controlling the crowd as well as hand sanitisers and social distancing measures."   The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department will arrange a one-off free COVID-19 testing service for the stall operators and their staff, Prof Chan added.   "For the flower farmers as well as their staff, we have to test them. We will do viral testing at least two days before the start of the Lunar New Year fairs as well as getting the list of their names and contacts, so that just in case we need to have contact tracing, we have a list of their close contacts.   "We believe we have tried our best to lower the infection risk."   Director of Food & Environmental Hygiene Vivian Lau encouraged members of the public to check the patronage data of the sites available online and disseminated through the media before going to the fairs.    If the number of visitors at the site has reached the maximum capacity, people are required to wait at a designated waiting area where social distancing measures will be observed, she said.
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