Lunar New Year is the season for government officials and politicians to hand out red envelopes and lucky scrolls to members of the public. But this year, the practice is prohibited due to COVID. The government announced on Sunday that politicians and civil servants are barred from making the rounds this year, and members of both the blue and green camps have responded positively to the measure.

With the current surge of local cases of COVID, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung came to the CECC Sunday to announce that public officials should not be making the rounds this Lunar New Year.

Hsu Kuo-yung

Minister of the Interior

I''m here to make a special request to all elected officials across the country, as well as our government officials, that we are prohibiting visits to public events.

The announcement means that politicians’ traditional Lunar New Year practice of handing out scrolls and red envelopes will not take place this year.

Just a few days ago, the Presidential Office announced that President Tsai and Vice President Lai would cancel temple visits and red envelope distributions for the second year in a row.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou was planning to travel from northern to southern Taiwan on Sunday, making six stops to distribute the New Year lucky scrolls. The trip has been precipitously called off. KMT lawmaker Lin Yi-hua, whose name also appears on the scrolls to be handed out by the former president, points out that this is an election year, and she’s only printed a thousand scrolls this year, most of which have been distributed since Jan. 1. Now she’s running low.

Lin Yi-hua

KMT Lawmaker

This time, maybe it’s due to the price, printing lucky scrolls costs NT$1.9 each, so it cost about NT$19,000 to NT$20,000. Now there are no more than 80 copies left. Prohibiting public engagements means I miss the chance to get in touch with the people, so I was thinking, if I was running in the election this year, I would be quite anxious.

Cho Kuan-ting

DPP New Taipei councilor candidate

During the Lunar New Year, our campaign materials have also been prepared, printed, and are ready for distribution at the temples. Then everything on the itinerary was cancelled due to the pandemic. This is quite an impact on newcomers.

Indeed, to those running in the yearend city councilor elections for the first time, it’s a missed opportunity to come in contact with their constituents. But in the face of COVID, that is a price to pay.

Eric Chu

KMT Chairman

I already announced in our regular meeting that these large-scale banquets and gatherings are all prohibited, and I will not call on the people to gather to distribute any red envelopes or Spring Festival scrolls.

Hou Yu-ih

New Taipei mayor

We’ve cancelled the distribution of red envelopes in principle. As for our itinerary, we’ll have to see how the epidemic pans out.

Politicians in both the blue and green camps have come out to express their support of prevention of social gatherings. Fighting COVID is after all the most important battle at hand.