Bars and Nightclubs Suffer Closures Once Again as Omicron Plunges Hong Kong Into Lockdown
After almost three months of zero local cases, the first local case of COVID-19’s Omicron variant in Hong Kong was reported Jan. 4, and it swiftly spread, spiraling the city and special administrative region of China into lockdown.
Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong, announced that beginning Jan. 7, dine-in services would be closed from 6 p.m. until 4:59 a.m. the next day, and that diners per table would be capped at two people in type B premises, four people in type C and six people in type D.
Specified premises, including pubs, bars, nightclubs, fitness centers, theme parks, museums, party rooms, performance venues and cinemas must comply with the forced shutdown. The measures remain in effect four 14 days and will be reviewed afterward.
Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, a lawyer representing 16,000 members of the catering industry, said ban is expected to cause a loss in business of at least HK$4 billion (about U.S.$513.7 million) as it comes into effect as Chinese new year approaches, according to The Drinks Business.
Cheung is calling for the government to relax these measures in order to provide subsidies for eateries and property owners, and to suspend any plans to increase rent for restaurants.
To adapt, most bars that have a restaurant license will remain open from lunch until 6 p.m., while fine dining establishments are adjusting their hours to open for lunch and an “early dinner” window from 2-6 p.m., according to The Drinks Business.
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