Anger as bars shuttered despite no recent outbreaks - RTHK
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Anger as bars shuttered despite no recent outbreaks

2020-11-24 HKT 18:59
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  • The bar industry says it's being unfairly targeted despite following all the government's social distancing requirements. File photo: RTHK
    The bar industry says it's being unfairly targeted despite following all the government's social distancing requirements. File photo: RTHK
Anthea Cheung speaks to RTHK's Timmy Sung
The bar industry on Tuesday reacted angrily to the latest closure order by the government, saying it has been targeted even though none of Hong Kong's recent coronavirus cases have been linked to bars.

Bars, nightclubs and saunas have been told to remain closed from Thursday as a fourth wave of infections hits the territory.

The director of the Lan Kwai Fong Association, Anthea Cheung, said she expects that up to half of Hong Kong's 1,400 licensed bars could go out of business if they have to stay shut for a prolonged period of time.

"It's very unfair. We are in a very passive position, because no matter what we do ... we have executed all the measures and also followed closely every single regulation, but we are still the one to blame," Cheung told RTHK.

"We are getting ready for the promotion of Christmas. Maybe 50 percent of our outlets will close [down] because it's our high season where we get most of our revenue from."

The association demanded that the government provide further financial assistance for the bar industry, noting that the Employment Subsidy Scheme is about to come to an end.

The president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades Simon Wong, meanwhile, said he feared some larger restaurants may close as they will only be able to host banquets for up to 40 people from Thursday.

"They have to lay off a lot of people as they don't need so many people in the kitchen. I suppose this will just be a mess and a lot of restaurants may have to close down or close down temporarily as a lot of banquets will be cancelled," he said.

Wong added that December is a peak season for restaurants and he expects turnovers could plummet if the restrictions continue.