No fair as book lovers' event put offTop News | Jane Cheung and Maisy Mok 14 Jul 2020
The Hong Kong Book Fair, due to start tomorrow, has been postponed amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
That set off a ripple of annoyance among exhibitors, who said the decision should have been made earlier.
The word on the SAR's biggest consumer fair came yesterday from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.
It said the decision followed a recommendation by government authorities not to press ahead with the fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as it would be difficult to trace coronavirus contacts if cases were sourced to the event.
The council said "it was advised that given the latest situation and the government reimposing certain social distancing restrictions the book fair, despite the precautionary measures to be put in place, should be avoided."
Three other TDC-linked fairs - the Sports and Leisure Expo, the Education and Careers Expo and Entrepreneur Day - have also been postponed.
The TDC added: "The government has indicated it will continue to provide support under the Anti-Epidemic Fund when the fairs are [held at] a later date."
Would-be book fair exhibitors said they understood the aim is to stage the event in September or December.
A spokesman for the 2020 Hong Kong Book Fair Concern Group, Jimmy Pang Chi-ming, said the late announcement had caused problems.
The head of local publisher Subculture said the TDC should have made the announcement earlier to reduce the losses for exhibitors because some had hired workers to construct and decorate booths.
"Booksellers will also be anxious if the fair is postponed indefinitely as they have to keep their books in storage due to the postponement," Pang added.
But the postponement of the book fair was an appropriate action given the Covid-19 situation, Pang said, and his group will talk with the TDC on new arrangements.
Pang hopes the government will provide support to the exhibitors by extending its offer of subsidies - up to HK$1 million for an exhibitor.
Admission ticket holders can request refunds, with details to be announced on www.bookfair.com.
And the Sino United Publishing group launched an online book fair yesterday, which will last to the end of the month.
People can view and purchase over two million books from around the world on its website (www.mybookone.com.hk).
The Hong Kong Computer and Communication Festival and the eHealth and Sportstech Expo set for August 21 to 24 have also been postponed by the organizer Chamber of Hong Kong Computer Industry. So have the 22nd Ani-Com & Games Hong Kong and the first Elefun Pop Art Toy Show slated for July 24 to 27.
The third wave of the pandemic to hit the SAR has also led the Jockey Club to call off a restart to the Mark Six draws.
The validity of tickets and cash vouchers has been extended again and holders of tickets and cash vouchers entitled to dividends and cash can e-mail the club or visit off-course betting branches for details.
Amid the postponements, catering sector legislator Tommy Cheung Yu-yan called for a change of plan in a restaurant discount promotion beginning tomorrow.
Cheung recommended that thousands of participating restaurants, including Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Yoshinoya, offer up to 30 percent discounts for take-outs this month and up to 20 percent next month. That would replace the original promotion aimed at dine-in customers.
There needs to be a balance between the economy and anti-epidemic measures, he said and "anti-epidemic work is vital in this period."