Cover In 2020, many restaurants were forced to pivot to takeaway only in the evenings (Photo: Yardbird)

The government announced new restrictions in response to growing Omicron fears, which includes closing bars and banning dining in restaurants after 6:00pm

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced today (5 January) a set of tightened social distancing measures to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, after the city recorded its first untraceable Covid-19 case in the community this week. These include the closure of bars, and a ban on restaurant dine-ins in the evening, a chilling throwback to those ten weeks between 2020 and 2021 when restaurants could only operate dine-ins until 6:00pm and takeaway or delivery after the cut off time. Type B, C and D restaurants will also need to restrict the number of diners per table to 2, 4 and 6 persons respectively.

The new restrictions will be in place for at least two weeks starting midnight on Friday 7 January, after which they have the potential to be extended if the situation does not improve—putting the restaurant industry at risk during the lucrative Lunar New Year period, with bars in an even more unfortunate situation not being able to operate at all. 

See also: Hong Kong's Dine-In Bans: Here's What the Restaurant Industry Says

For much of 2021, restaurants and bars were also subject to stringent vaccine bubble measures, with venues divided into four categories depending on use of the LeaveHomeSafe app, as well as the vaccination status of staff and customers. From December 9, 2021, usage of the app was also made mandatory in all restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas.

Despite the renewed energy of the dining scene, with new openings and events that we have had the privilege of enjoying, the last two years have already put immense pressure on an already delicate industry—not to mention taking its toll on the mental health of its workers. With new challenges ahead for all those involved, Tatler Dining will continue to report on the ways you can support your favourite restaurants and bars during this time to weather yet another storm.

If you run a restaurant and bar in Hong Kong and want to update us on how you'll be running during the restrictions, please let us know here

 

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