Police have urged people not to travel to the Mong Kok Flower Market in light of the worsening Covid outbreak in Hong Kong, adding that those going there should avoid rush hour.
The force made the call by announcing a series of crowd and traffic control measures to be adopted near the market from Thursday to February 1 – the first day of the Chinese New Year.
Several roads, including Flower Market Road and Yuen Ngai Street, will be closed to most vehicles from 8 a.m. Thursday.
Officers said that when the area becomes too crowded, more roads will be closed to vehicles and people will only be able to enter the market at the intersection of Fa Yuen Street and Playing Field Road.
Superintendent Ho Siu-kai said additional officers would also be stationed in the area to monitor the situation.
“We will take into account the current crowd situation. We would not like to see or have a situation where it becomes overcrowded in the flower market, which could lead to public safety concerns, traffic problems and an increased risk of spreading the pandemic,” he said. .
“We are living in a serious Covid-19 pandemic situation. So, for your own health and that of others, avoid going to crowded places. If you really have to go to the flower market, avoid peak times on weekends and January 31.
Police said that due to the cancellation of this year’s Chinese New Year fairs, the market has seen an increase in crowds.
Authorities have also taken action against road obstructions after some florists dumped goods on sidewalks.
“We are aware that [the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department] has taken a number of crackdowns at the flower market in recent weeks with police support. Such operations will continue until and during the Lunar New Year,” Ho said.
He said authorities have also held meetings with flower shop owners and distributed market notices advising shops to keep sidewalks clear.