The festival was welcomed as planned as a sign of China’s success in containing and controlling the Coronavirus. Numerous restrictions were lifted across the country, as residents were able to travel freely within the borders of China.
Now, despite a small-scale outbreak in the nearby cities of Shenyang and Dalian, it has altered plans. While the festival is still open and visitors can buy tickets to walk and check out works of ice art, events and shows have been canceled. This included a planned group wedding that was supposed to take place on January 5. The event organizer confirmed the changes to CNN.
Ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province on January 5, 2021.
STR / AFP / Getty Images
“All visitors need to have strengthened precautions, present their health codes when entering the park, take their temperature, wear masks at all times, and maintain [safe] Distancing from others in the park, ”read a statement posted on the festival’s social media pages on December 29.
New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks display have also been canceled.
The annual festival is the largest of its kind in the world.
Every year, workers pull blocks of ice from the Songhua River, which artists use as materials for their creations. The pressure has always been high in the previous year, and 2021 highlights include a “crystal palace”, a fully functional 220-square-foot “ice bar” and a scale model of China’s first plane made entirely of snow.
CNN Beijing correspondent Hana Zheng also contributed to this report.