The race for orchids, peach blossoms and narcissus from the biggest Lunar New Year fair at Victoria Park has started with yesterday's opening of the SAR's 15 fairs.
Although most Covid
curbs have been lifted, food and dry goods stalls will not be among the 922 opening up at the fairs as they stay banned for a third year.
People are not allowed to eat and drink in the fair venues and must leave as soon as possible after buying flowers.
Some crowd diversion measures are also in place, such as that visitors must enter the Victoria Park fair from entrances at Hing Fat Street or near the park's fountain.
An orchid seller said the people inflow was less now, as customers will leave once they get flowers, unlike before the epidemic, when they could get dry goods or eat.
A peach blossom stall vender agreed and said "some people are also heading to the mainland and abroad."
Tangerine seller Ko said firms ordered 31-centimeter pots at prices ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Her popular smaller pots of tangerines are priced at HK$168, which sounds like "all the way to fortune" in Cantonese. Although there were not many customers on the first day, Ko said "there were a few more Putonghua-speaking tourists as well as locals this morning."
She expects business to see a 20 to 30 percent increase this year.
Crowd and queuing situations at the 15 fairs will be displayed in red, amber and green lights in real time on the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department's website and at each venue.
Special traffic arrangements will be in place at the Mong Kok fair from today.
Flower Market Road, and Yuen Ngai and Yuen Po streets and the slip road of Prince Edward Road West will be closed from 8 am today until 8 am on Sunday.
During the closure period, westbound vehicles along Prince Edward Road West cannot turn right into Sai Yee Street northbound. In addition, Sai Yee and Fa Yuen streets and Playing Field Road will also be closed depending on traffic conditions.
Ocean Park will have a rabbit-themed village and fair and shows, including a Lion Dance remixed with contemporary street dance styles, from Thursday to February 5.
The theme park is also hiring 350 full-timers, mostly front line workers, to prepare for the influx.