'100 restaurants close in a week due to virus' - RTHK
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'100 restaurants close in a week due to virus'

2020-02-15 HKT 12:38
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  • '100 restaurants close in a week due to virus'
The head of a restaurant industry association says 100 businesses in the sector closed their doors in just the past week as they struggled to cope with the Covid-19 outbreak.

Simon Wong, the president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said a government promise on Friday to give restaurant businesses subsidies of up to HK$200,000 would bring welcome relief.

The subsidy was part of a HK$25 billion package of measures announced by the government on Friday, which will also benefit retailers and tour operators.

"I have to say that the virus has been affecting our industry very much, especially after the Chinese New Year," Wong said.

"I see that in the past week, there are more than 100 restaurants closing down or terminating their operation and that would affect the unemployment rate, as well as the whole operation of the industry."

The maximum subsidy for small restaurants will be HK$80,000, while larger restaurants will get up to HK$200,000 as the government attempts to mitigate the economic damage of the virus outbreak. Travel agencies can also claim up to HK$80,000.

Around 200,000 low-income families will get a one-off grant of around HK$5,000 per household, while student subsidies will rise from HK$2,500 to HK$3,500.

So far 56 people in Hong Kong have been diagnosed with Covid. More than 60,000 people on the mainland have fallen ill.