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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

First to shut, last to reopen: Bar trade decries discrimination in Covid rules

First to shut, last to reopen: Bar trade decries discrimination in Covid rules

The city’s beleaguered bar trade has cried foul over what it calls the government’s double standards in fighting the Covid pandemic, with the industry being left out in the latest easing of social distancing measures.
Ben Leung Lap-yan, charter president of the Licensed Bar and Club Association of Hong Kong, slammed the government’s decision not to allow the reopening of bars and pubs in the latest easing of social distancing measures as “discrimination”.

His comments came as the government announced that from April 21, evening dine-in till 10pm could resume, up to four people could gather in public - an increase from two currently, and venues such as gyms, beauty parlors and sports centers would be allowed to 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 social-distancing phases.

He said he did not see much of a difference in the business operation between the city’s bars and restaurants, with many restaurants with a liquor license also serving alcohol to customers.

He also criticized the government for neglecting citizens’ and industries’ opinions in policymaking.

Meanwhile, tourism-sector lawmaker Perry Yiu Pak-leung called on the government to resume its local “cruises to nowhere” tours to revive the deeply hammered industry under the epidemic.

Yiu said these tours have been put on hold since late last year, and it would take cruise lines around two to three months to relocate their cruises back to Hong Kong ahead of the resumption.

He stressed if these local “cruises to nowhere” tours could only resume in the second phase (starting May 21) of the city’s roadmap to normalcy, the chances of such tours commencing 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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