First to close, last to reopen: Bar trade denounces discrimination in Covid rules

The city’s beleaguered bar trade has cried foul over what it calls the government’s double standard in tackling the Covid pandemic, with the industry left out in the latest relaxation of social distancing measures.

Ben Leung Lap-yan, founding president of Hong Kong’s Licensed Bar and Club Association, called the government’s decision not to allow bars and pubs to reopen in the latest relaxation of social distancing measures “discrimination”.

His comments came as the government announced that from April 21 evening dining until 10 p.m. could resume, up to four people could gather in public – an increase from two currently, and places such as gymnasiums, beauty salons and sports centers would be allowed. reopen but bars and pubs had to remain closed.

Leung accused the government of being unfair to his industry as bars in Hong Kong have always been the first to close and the last to reopen under different phases of social distancing.

He said he didn’t see much difference in business operations between bars and restaurants in the city, with many liquor-licensed restaurants also serving alcohol to customers.

He also criticized the government for neglecting the opinions of citizens and industries in policy-making.

Meanwhile, tourism sector lawmaker Perry Yiu Pak-leung called on the government to resume local “cruise to nowhere” tours to revive the industry deeply hammered by the outbreak.

Yiu said such tours had been suspended since late last year and it would take cruise lines about two to three months to relocate their cruises to Hong Kong before resuming.

He pointed out that while these local “cruise to nowhere” tours could only resume in the second phase (from May 21) of the city’s roadmap to normalcy, the chances of such tours starting in May or June would be minimal.

The lawmaker also called on authorities to review the city’s flight suspension mechanism and border rules in a timely manner to facilitate travel.

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