TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Amid fears of a new outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, the Taipei City Government on Tuesday (Dec. 29) announced that the crowd at Taipei City Hall Plaza will be limited to 80,000 for the New Year's Eve countdown.
After Taiwan's first local coronavirus case in eight months was announced on Dec. 22, local Taiwanese governments have begun announcing cancellations and restrictions on New Year's Eve festivities. The Taipei City Government on Tuesday announced on its official website that the crowd size for Taipei City Hall Plaza, which can normally accommodate 110,000, will be reduced to 80,000 for New Year's Eve.
The government also warned that the limit on the crowd size could be lowered further at any time, based on any new developments regarding coronavirus infections. Three checkpoints and 24 entrances to the area will be open to the public beginning at 3 p.m. on New Year's Eve and will be closed off once the crowd size reaches 80,000.
Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊) stated that prior to entering the venue, visitors will be required to wear masks, have their temperature taken, sanitize their hands, and comply with the real-name registration system. While in the plaza, visitors are prohibited from eating or drinking, but Huang said those who must drink water to stay hydrated can remove their mask briefly to do so and then immediately place it back on when they are finished drinking.
Those who fail to heed directions from staff members could face fines of between NT$3,000 (US$106) and NT$15,000 for violating the "Communicable Disease Control Act" (傳染病防治法). The three major checkpoints will be situated on Songhshou Road, Songgao Road, and in front of the Taipei City Council.
The city has yet to announce any restrictions on areas outside of Taipei City Hall Plaza. Huang said that if any other measures were decided on, they will be broadcast online to the public.
The city’s tourism chief Liu Yi-ting (劉奕霆) said that people who have a temperature over 37.5 degrees Celsius or have suspicious symptoms of the virus, such as difficulty breathing, diarrhea, loss of smell or taste, are asked not to attend New Year's Eve activities. Liu said that they can instead watch one of the multiple TV stations or websites that will be broadcasting the countdown live.
For those who are not experiencing any symptoms of the virus, they can cut down wait time by installing and filling out the real-name registration apps, TaipeiPASS or myCode, and receive a QR code, which can be scanned at the entrance.