Thousands flock to Mong Kok flower market after LNY fair canceled

Thousands of people flocked to the Mong Kok flower market over the weekend to buy flowers two weeks before the Lunar New Year after health authorities canceled traditional fairs amid the Covid-19 Omicron surge.

But market traders are not thrilled with the increase in customer flow as they expect up to 40% loss of revenue due to tougher law enforcement against products placed on sidewalks at outside their stores.

Flower Market Road was packed with shoppers on Sunday afternoon to hand-pick the most beautiful Lunar New Year flowers to decorate their homes, which many believe can bring good luck.

A Tam housewife in her 50s came to the market from her home in Sheung Shui after hearing that this year’s fairs would be canceled.

“I buy flowers at the fair every year. It’s a tradition for me,” she said.

“After knowing that there will be no fairs this year, I know that I have to dedicate a day this weekend to come to the flower market before the good ones are sold out.” She finally chose an orchid pot for HK$400.

Another citizen said she visits the flower market almost every week and the crowd this Sunday was much larger than normal.

“Maybe it’s because the fair was cancelled,” she said, adding that she only briefly walked Prince Edward Road West without going to Flower Market Road.

“There are too many people. I dare not stay too long. I will only choose what I want quickly and go home,” she said.

One store owner, surnamed Cheng, said his business this year will be 40% below pre-pandemic levels as his wholesale store lost orders from retailers who had bid for stands at the fair.

“Now that the shows have been canceled many of them have canceled their orders but I have already reserved more stock from suppliers,” he said.

Hong Kong Wholesale Florist Association chairman Sunny Lai Wing-chun said police and the Department of Food and Environmental Sanitation warned merchants to remove flowers placed on sidewalks and the road outside. stores, otherwise they would be fined HK$1,500 for each violation.

Another shop owner said customers go to the market to look at the flowers before making purchases.

“We need to display the flowers for people to see and choose for themselves,” she said. “They come and deliver good tickets to us every other day. It’s really difficult for us. I hope the authorities can be more lenient in the meantime.

Agriculture and fisheries lawmaker Ho Chun-yin feared the crowds at the flower market could create health hazards. Ho from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, asked, “Even if you cancel the fair, will it prevent Hong Kongers from getting flowers?”

“People just pass by the Mong Kok flower market, and it could create a cluster of flower markets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Heung Yee Kuk announced to follow his customs of shooting makeshift sticks at Che Kung Temple on the second day of the Lunar New Year on February 2, but the event will only be attended by his members who must test negative for Covid beforehand.

Terisa K. Carn