The confirmation came via a public notice issued by the shrine administrators yesterday (Sept 22).
The move marks the first time any administrators of Chinese shrines in Phuket that serve as a focal point of activities during the annual festival banning food stalls or other market vendors from setting up in front of the temple during the festival.
In years past, thousands of people thronged to the Jui Tui Shrine each day during the festival to take part or observe the ceremonies taking place.
The food stalls set up along Ranong Rd have served as an essential adjunct to the festivities. Many other vendor stalls, such as those selling white clothing for people taking part in the festival, have also proved very popular over the years, with the streets in front of the shrine closed to vehicular traffic.
The notice issued by the Jui Tui Tao Bo Keng Foundation yesterday noted, “Due to the epidemic situation of the COVID-19 virus that is spreading widely, Phuket Province [the provincial government] has issued order No. 5560/2564 on preventive measures for COVID-19 regarding the traditional Vegetarian Festival for the year 2561 .
“In response to the measures of the province under the circumstances that still has the number of infections and deaths increasing day by day, the Jui Tui Shrine and its Executive Committee foresees that the safety in the health, hygiene and lives of everyone at the heart of the Vegetarian Festival and its ritual is important.”
The notice asked people “to refrain from establishing shops and selling food or products around Ranong Rd, in front of Wat Kajorn Rangsan and on Soi Phuthon for this year.”
“Next year, if the situation has improved, the Vegetarian Festival and the walking street in front of Jui Tui Shrine will definitely come back in a big way.”