Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Jul 19, 2024

Hong Kong performance venues applaud loosening of Covid-19 restrictions

Hong Kong performance venues applaud loosening of Covid-19 restrictions

Catering industry still expected to take HK$350 million through increased bookings for winter solstice, although figure well down on normal years.

Concert halls and other performance venues in Hong Kong started to run at full capacity on Thursday after more Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

But the relaxation of restrictions on numbers, which also included banquets, did not have immediate benefits for cinemas or newlyweds who had planned smaller-scale celebrations months before their big day.

The catering industry recorded brisk business as large families gathered over the winter solstice and in the run-up to Christmas, but a health expert warned that the festive season could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases and add to the pressure on the public healthcare system.

Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said the catering sector was expected to rake in around HK$350 million (US$45 million) through more restaurant bookings for the winter solstice on Thursday.


Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades.

Wong said while the winter solstice earnings were predicted to be the highest since the pandemic hit, they still paled in comparison to pre-pandemic years where an average of HK$420 million to HK$450 million was recorded every year.

“We still don’t have many large banquet bookings because most were arranged some weeks ago and we cannot increase the number of tables immediately. Especially for weddings and large parties, we can’t accommodate more people at short notice,” he explained.

Wong added he hoped the 12-per-table limit would be lifted so the sector could cater to larger parties.

The 85 per cent capacity limit for entertainment venues such as cinemas, museums, theme parks and performance venues was lifted under the changes.

Bar customers and banquet guests also no longer have to undergo rapid antigen tests (RAT) and the 240-guest limit for banquets was also abolished.

But the government has not lifted the cap on the number of customers per table at bars and restaurants.

Only 12 people can be seated per table at restaurants and the limit for bars is six.

Some concert and performance organisers also reaped benefits after they decided to open at full capacity right away.

An 18-day series of concerts by Cantopop star Eason Chan this month and in January, was the first to gain.

Staff at the box office in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui said about 1,000 on-the-day tickets held back earlier because of social-distancing rules were released for sale on Thursday.

The news was a welcome surprise to many fans of the singer who failed to get tickets in the first allocation.

“His tickets were so hard to get that I thought I would miss the concert. But now I am hoping for a silver lining as more seats have been released,” Lilian Hu, 23, said.

A spokeswoman for the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority said extra tickets for the performing arts programmes produced by the organisation would be up for grabs soon.
Bliss Ng and her new husband Konstantinov Ivan, who wed on Thursday at Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry in Admiralty, said they were happy with their slimmed-down celebration, planned before the government lifted more Covid-19 restrictions.


Some couples at Cotton Tree Drive Marriage Registry in Central who registered their marriage on Thursday said they were still happy to settle for small-scale banquets they planned earlier.

“I want my ceremony to be simple and we settled the list of guests a long time ago, so the recent policy changes will not change our plan,” Bliss Ng Lok-han, 32, a product manager, said.

She said she would have a small-scale dinner with around 20 people at a restaurant at Whampoa in Kowloon.

Peng Yuexin, a 49-year-old Mandarin teacher who registered her marriage with her partner of 18 years, said she would invite around 30 friends to a small buffet on Thursday night in Tsuen Wan to celebrate the event.

“We just want to stay safe and healthy, so we will not have any large-scale celebrations for our wedding,” Peng said.

Cinemas run by the major chains have also returned to full capacity, although there were no major increases in ticket sales.

Employees at MOViE MOViE, in Pacific Place, Admiralty said they had not seen an increase in the number of film-goers.

There were also Christmas Day seats still available online for popular films like Avatar: The Way of Water in other cinema chains such as Broadway Circuit.

Respiratory medicine specialist Dr Leung Chi-chiu warned that the city’s coronavirus numbers may increase because of the holiday festivities.

“The public medical system has been under significant pressure recently. There are more than 4,000 hospitalised Covid-19 patients and nearly 550 people were admitted in a single day,” he said.

“Once a large-scale outbreak occurs in a hospital or a home for the elderly, the epidemic situation may further deteriorate.”

Travellers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and overseas from Thursday are no longer required to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on arrival and will not be issued with a red health code. Travellers will, however, still need to obtain a negative PCR result in the 72 hours before they enter Macau.

Arrivals will instead be given an amber health code to self-administer rapid antigen tests for five days. If the results are negative, the code will turn green.

Travellers from December 17 could choose to isolate at their homes or hotels in Macau for five days instead of at isolation centres.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×