The foundation of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Kashing has pledged to donate HK$200 million (US$25.5 million) to offer a lifeline to restaurants affected by the monthslong anti-government protests in the city that has pushed at least 200 restaurants out of business this summer.
Any small and medium restaurants employing fewer than 50 people with a proper business registration and license can apply for financial reliefs of HK$60,000, according to the foundation.
The financial reliefs will be distributed to successful applicants before the end of November.
According to Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, from June to September this year, more than 200 restaurants went bust in those four months.
The HK$200 million package is part of the foundation’s HK$1 billion pledge announced earlier to help local businesses rattled by the city’s ongoing protests.
Restaurants are among the hardest hit amid protests, hence first in line for the relief measures. The civil unrest in the city caused by the now withdrew Extradition Bill has led to retail and hospitality sectors into decline, as tourists number tumble.
The city’s economy also plunged into recession affected by the protests. In the first nine months of this year, Hong Kong’s GDP declined 0.7%, according to SCMP.
“The economic situation will worsen as a bad cycle is forming from lay-offs of staff from restaurants, shops and trading companies, which will in turn hurt consumer spending and fuel more lay-offs,” ING Bank Greater China economist Iris Pang told the local newspaper.