BARS AND PUBS MISSED OUT IN HONG KONG'S REOPENING TODAY
By Susan Lewis
Credit: Kirk Lai/Unsplash
Hong Kong government relaxes its COVID-19 restrictive measures today allowing gyms, cinemas, beauty parlours and other premises to restart business, but the city's bars, pubs and night clubs have been missed out in today's reopening.
The city's Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, had earlier declined to comment on when bars and pubs will be allowed to reopen, fuelling anxiety in the sector which has been closed since mid November.
Vice president of Licensed Bar and Club Association of Hong Kong, Roden Wong, warned that of the 1,400 licensed bars in Hong Kong, 60 percent are at the risk of closing for good.
“We are the first ones to shut and the last to reopen,” Wong told South China Morning Post. “We don’t understand how we are being perceived as a high-risk venue while we have better controls than the wet markets or shopping malls.”
Today's easing comes with new safety measures for venue operators, including regularly testing employees and requiring customers to either scan QR codes through the government’s contact-tracing app or leave their personal details at establishments they are visiting.
Premises like gyms, cinemas, video game centres, beauty parlours can reopen. Restaurants can offer dine-in services until 10pm and seat four people to a table instead of two previously.
But most night life venues - including bars, pubs, night clubs and karaoke - will remain shut.
Allan Zeman, a major landlord in Lan Kwai Fong district which is Hong Kong's biggest night life hub, called on the Hong Kong government to allow bars and pubs to reopen as soon as possible.
He said he understands the need for the government to reopen gradually, but many of the venues are going bust soon, any further delay can lead to a tsunami of collapse.
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