Covid-19: Hong Kong bars and nightclubs open to vaccinated people
For the early reopening of bars, clubs and restaurants, the city is working to encourage vaccinations among residents.
New rules will allow bars and nightclubs in Hong Kong to open until 2 am. As for restaurants, they will be able to extend dining hours, Bloomberg reported.
With the reopening of bars, nightclubs and karaoke parlors, the city of Hong Kong will be able to relax restrictions on social distancing. These establishments will be able to close after midnight until 2:00 am, but only for vaccinated residents, starting this Thursday.
It should be noted that tables may be occupied by up to two people, and in karaoke rooms, a maximum of four people will be allowed.
For the first reopening, the staff of bars, clubs and restaurants must have received at least the first dose of the vaccine. This was reported by food and health secretary Sophia Chan on Tuesday. Users will have to register with Hong Kong’s LeaveHomeSafe app.
Ozone Hong Kong Bar – Photo by Daniel Gillaspia on Flickr
Through this scheme the government is at the same time trying to increase the so far low vaccination quota. Despite a large supply of vaccines, only 11% of the population has received the first dose.
If restaurant staff are vaccinated with a first dose, restaurants will be able to admit more customers per table and extend opening hours, Chan said.
However, this rule will only apply to the “zones” designated for inoculated customers.
- Restaurants whose staff have received the first dose of vaccine will be able to extend their dining hours until 12 noon and have up to six customers per table in the zones.
- Customers will be required to register through LeaveHomeSafe.
- Capacity will be limited to 50 percent.
In contrast, for restaurants whose staff have received both doses, the measures will be loosened 14 days later.
- These restaurants can operate until 2 a.m. and allow up to eight diners per table in the zones.
- Customers must be vaccinated with at least one dose and register to dine via LeaveHomeSafe.
- Capacity will be limited to 75 percent.
The relaxation of measures for the vaccinated comes after Hong Kong announced its expected plans to introduce a quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore next month.
Fears of a rushed reopening of bars, restaurants and clubs.
Since November 2020, pubs have been ordered to close but some have been able to work until 10:00pm by obtaining a license to serve meals. Nightclubs, on the other hand, have remained closed since then.
According to the South China Morning Post newspaper, industry officials estimate that only 20% of the city’s 700 nightclubs and half of its 1,280 bars will be able to open on Thursday after being closed for about five months.
Pub Bar in Hong Kong | Photo by Chris on Flickr
There is however a fear on the part of players in the bar trade, namely that operations will kick off in a chaotic manner this Thursday with a lack of documents and tools that will leave many businesses worried about opening without having to break the law.
In fact, many said they were not ready to start work as they were grappling with the new regulations.
Wing Chin Chun, president of Hong Kong Bar Club Association, predicted this Thursday would be chaotic. “I can say that many businesses and bars will be in complete chaos [on Thursday],” he warned.
“The bar industry has not really sorted out the complicated and ambiguous rules. There is a lack of detailed planning by the government and everything has been rushed into place.”
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.
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