Hong Kong’s worst coronavirus resurgence could cost the city’s dining sector as much as HK$3 billion (US$387 million) in the month of July, as dining-in at restaurants is banned till end of the month.
The city introduced unprecedented social distancing measures mid-July, the strictest yet, to curb alarming spread of Covid-19 including closure of bars and banning dine-in after 6pm.
The surge of confirmed cases in the past week, with many unknown origins, has pushed the city’s total infected number to over 2000 higher than 2003 SARS.
The government on Sunday announced the extension of dine-in ban during evenings from 6pm to 5am for another week until July 28 following the city’s highest daily case record of 108. Additionally, each table can only seat four diners maximum.
The city’s industry leaders in restaurants and bars warned that the measures would cause HK$3 billion loss and hundreds of closures.
Simon Wong, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, predicted the catering sector would lose HK$3 billion in revenue in July as a result of not being able to serve customers in the evening, according to SCMP.
According to Openrice, a popular dining guide used in Hong Kong, more than 250 restaurants went out of business in June. Wong believes that figure could rise in July as takeaways and lunch service could hardly make up for what’s lost during dinner services.
In Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong’s nightlife district in Central, SCMP said about a quarter of the approximately 120 restaurants and bars in the area have decided to close at night.
Many neighbourhood restaurants in North Point decided to close as well during dinner time.
Hong Kong’s total tally rose to over 2,000 on Tuesday, and on July 19 it reported the highest daily cases yet of 108.