Bars across the city pulled down their shutters at 6pm on Friday as a mandatory two-week closure took effect.
The move is part of widening government efforts to try to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong, but business owners have been complaining that it could see many smaller businesses close down for good.
Some bar managers in Wan Chai that RTHK spoke to questioned why bars were targeted for closure, noting that MTR trains remain crammed, and that crowds of people were packed into nearby restaurants and shops.
They wondered why there wasn’t a blanket ban instead of singling out bars.
One manager called the move a “disaster”, and predicted that some smaller bars would never reopen.
At around 7pm – an hour into the new ban – police were seen inspecting licences of bars and restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui that were still open.
Under the newly-gazetted regulations, premises that exclusively or primarily sell alcoholic drinks are subject to the mandatory closure – but the vagueness of the definition meant that bars that also serve food can stay open.
Some bars on Knutsford Terrace remained open for business, but put up signs saying they would only be serving food and non-alcoholic beverages.
There’s no actual ban on restaurants selling booze, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department told RTHK, so long as the drinks are accompanied by food.
A spokesman also said officers enforcing the new ban would also consider the proportion of alcohol sales relative to food, when judging whether businesses are violating the ban.
Bars close to observe two-week ban
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