Dragon Boat races fail to fire turnout

Local | Maisy Mok 15 Jun 2021

The number of visitors watching Dragon Boat races in Tai O and Stanley dropped significantly due to the pandemic.

A male indigenous inhabitant of Tai O who returned to the island for the Dragon Boat Water Parade yesterday noticed a drop in visitors.

"The atmosphere has gotten worse and fewer boats are participating in the races. There are also fewer people in Tai O due to the pandemic. The atmosphere is not as happy as previous years," he said.

A spokeswoman for a dried seafood shop at Tai O, Wong , said sales were "bad" and fewer people visited the shop yesterday due to a Covid outbreak in Tung Chung's Citygate mall that occurred in April - an outbreak that saw at least three confirmed cases.

Not only were there less visitors in Tai O, but Stanley beaches also saw fewer visitors watching the dragon boat races this year.

"I had a Dragon Boat Festival swim and played with my kids in the water as well as on the sand. The atmosphere is not as lively as before, but that did not affect my happy mood," a woman who visited a Stanley beach said.

For the first time in Hong Kong, there was also a dragon boat race held on land. The Square Mile Association and the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association coorganized a dragon boat race that took place on Sunday in Square Mile, a shopping area in West Kowloon.

The race consisted of 12 teams, with racers using wooden sticks instead of paddles.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, the president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said this year's restaurants and rice dumpling sales are as bad as last year due to the pandemic, with an estimated sales drop of up to 30 percent compared to 2019.

Wong said the public might have already dined in and celebrated with families on the weekend, so dine-in services seemed to be rather quiet yesterday night.

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