Dinner Is Back As Hong Kong Government Announces Changes To Restaurant Restrictions
Hong Kong's restaurant industry can breathe a sigh of relief with the news that eateries will be able to seat four people per table until 10pm, with the relaxing of social distancing restrictions due to kick in from 18 February onwards.
Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee announced on Wednesday afternoon the changes to the city's social distancing regime, as Hong Kong seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases fell to 26 on Tuesday. A host of venues will be reopened next Thursday, such as gyms, beauty salons, massage parlours, sports venues, theme parks, and playgrounds. Government services will also resume normal operation.
Despite the extended nighttime hours, restaurants will have to administer virus tests for staff every 14 days, while diners will be required to check in on the government's LeaveHomeSafe app. No mention was made either of when bars and nightclubs would be allowed to reopen for business.
The current two-person limit on public gatherings and dine-in ban after 6pm have been in force since 8 December, with restaurants and bars appealing against the outsized impact of the restrictions on their bottom line. To date, Hong Kong has recorded 10,693 cases and 188 virus-related deaths.