TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The reopening of renowned Taichung tourist farms on Tuesday (July 13) has locals feeling concerned yet cautiously hopeful.
Wuling Farm and Fushoushan Farm will reopen conditionally for tourists on July 13. However, the news has led locals to worry about the potential for COVID-19 cluster infections.
Both tourist hot spots have been closed since May 19 because of the nationwide Level 3 alert, which has caused massive losses to the tourism industry. Since the government announced a partial lifting of restrictions Thursday (July 8), the rooms at Wuling Farm have been fully booked through August on the weekends, while the occupancy rate at Fushoushan Farm has reached 65 percent, according to CNA.
Following an outbreak that occurred in the southern county of Pingtung earlier this month, resulting in sluggish sales of the area's mangoes, some farmers in Taichung cannot help but worry that history will repeat itself, with a paucity of travelers affecting sales of the Lishan area's rich harvest of peaches, according to the Liberty Times.
The deputy director of Wuling Farm, Hu Fa-tao (胡發韜) gave assurances that under the current strong epidemic prevention measures, such as testing employees for COVID, crowd control, and social distancing, the reopening will benefit the marketing of local agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the deputy director of Fushoushan Farm, Wang Ren-chu (王仁助), stated that while the farm had originally retained a wait-and-see attitude after the mini-lift was announced, some tourism companies and farmers now support reopening, with an eye on future profits.
According to the representative of Taichung's Heping District, Lou Jin-yu (羅進玉), local residents' feelings are a mix of fear and expectation, and he urged visitors to respect the rules. "The locals cannot wait to see the tourists wake up the sleeping tourism business, but on the other hand, they are frightened by the prospect of an outbreak and would suffer from the poor medical system on the mountainside."