Taipei Main Station could continue ban on mass gatherings in hall

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Mass gatherings and sitting on the ground could remain banned at the hall in the Taipei Main Station even though the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has slowed down, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said Monday.

Since the TRA started to ban such behavior, including leasing the hall as an event venue, from February to curb the disease, Taipei Station Master Huang Jung-hua (黃榮華) said it plans to continue the policy in order to better maintain order and the station’s public image.

However, the move has raised controversy as it could affect migrant workers, who often organize meet-ups with their friends at the station on their days off because it is spacious and air-conditioned.

In response, the TRA said the ban is not targeting any specific group, and noted that the major role of the hall is not for mass gatherings.

While celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, or the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, are set for May 24, the TRA suggested that all related activities be relocated outdoors and said there will be more patrols to maintain order in the hall.

However, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) favors a more open attitude toward opening up the venue, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The hall should otherwise remain open for public access, including migrant workers, as long as it is properly managed, the ministry said, explaining that the case is being reviewed by the TRA.