Harbin Snow and Ice Pageant: Nonetheless open however occasions canceled attributable to Covid outbreaks

(CNN) – The 37th annual Harbin Snow and Ice Festival continues as planned, albeit with changes due to new coronavirus outbreaks nearby.The Winter Festival, a major event in northeast China’s Harbin City in Heilongjiang Province, has been attracting travelers from all over China and around the world every December and January since 1985.

The planned festival was a sign of China’s success in containing and fighting the coronavirus. Many restrictions have been lifted across the country and residents are free to move within China’s borders.

Now, small outbreaks in the nearby cities of Shenyang and Dalian have changed plans. Events and performances have been canceled while the festival is still open and visitors can purchase tickets to walk through the artwork of the ice art. This included a planned group wedding to be held on January 5th. An 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 must step up precautions, show their health codes when entering the park, have their temperature taken, wear masks at all times and one [safe] Distance from Others in the Park, “read a statement posted on the festival’s social media pages on December 29th.

New Year’s Eve celebration and fireworks were also canceled.

The health codes mentioned in the statement relate to the app that everyone in China must have on their phone to check that they are free from Covid-19. The app is also used for contact tracking in case someone gets sick. In some provinces, restrictions on domestic travel were lifted in April 2020.

The annual festival is the largest of its kind in the world.

Every year workers pull blocks of ice from the Songhua River that artists use as material for their creations. The pressure to beat the year before is always greater. The highlights of 2021 include a “Crystal Palace”, a 220 square meter, fully functional “Ice Bar” and a scale model of China’s first aircraft made entirely of snow.

Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in conjunction with the snowy city of Zhangjiakou in the north. This makes the Chinese capital the first city to host both winter and summer games.

Hannah Zheng from CNN in Beijing also contributed to the coverage.

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