Diners welcome easing of social distancing rules - RTHK
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Diners welcome easing of social distancing rules

2022-10-06 HKT 14:05
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  • Diners say while they welcome the easing of restrictions at restaurants and bars, they hope more Covid measures can be relaxed. Photo: RTHK
    Diners say while they welcome the easing of restrictions at restaurants and bars, they hope more Covid measures can be relaxed. Photo: RTHK
Restaurant-goers on Thursday said they welcome the easing of social distancing rules at restaurants and bars, but called for more Covid measures to be scrapped as the pandemic eases.

From Thursday, restaurants can seat 12 instead of eight diners at a table.

The 12-person cap will also apply to premises like party rooms and karaoke lounges.

Bars, pubs and nightclubs, meanwhile, will be able to serve up to six people per table from the previous four.

At a restaurant in Admiralty, a diner surnamed Ip said the easing should have come sooner.

"It should have been relaxed long ago. Now it appears that the virus will stay with us. All we can do is to be cautious. I think we don't have to worry too much," he told RTHK.

But Brian, a university student who was at the restaurant with friends, said the new measure has not made a big difference.

"I think there's not too much difference between eight and twelve people. Because even if we had twelve people [previously], we could still split into two tables so we could still have contact with each other,” he said.

Other social distancing measures, meanwhile, remain in place, including mask-wearing in most public places and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people.

Brian told RTHK that it’s high time for the mask-wearing mandate to be dropped.

"Most of the people have already got infected with Covid-19. So I think the compulsory mask policy can be relaxed. It's not too much difference between wearing and not wearing a mask,” he said.

A woman, surnamed Sham, also called for the limit on public gatherings to be lifted.

“Because we can go to dinner for 12 people, a ban of [more than] four people on public gatherings should be relaxed," she said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants, Simon Wong, said there has been a surge in reservations since the announcement of the relaxation in dining rules.

He said he expects a 30 percent jump in business, with restaurants that hold banquets likely to benefit the most under the new measure.

Wong added that he hopes the government will further lift Covid curbs so that the catering sector can thrive again.