Hong Kong bans dining out amid stricter Covid measures

By Shirley Lau

Hong Kong, Jul 29 (efe-epa).- At 5.57pm on Tuesday in Hong Kong, a masked waiter at a restaurant in the Asian city’s core business district told several tables of wine-sipping guests: “You have three more minutes. Enjoy while it lasts.”

When the clock struck 6pm, everyone stood up and reluctantly headed for the exit.

Some hugged and said to each other: “Take care. See you soon, hopefully.”

In the face of rising coronavirus infections, Hong Kong authorities announced further restrictions on Monday, including a ban on restaurant dining, reducing public gatherings from four to two people and mandatory face masks in all public places, indoor and outdoor.

Even joggers have to don a mask while running.

Offenders breaching the new rules, which took effect at midnight on Wednesday and will last at least seven days, face a fine of up to US$640.

The city has a strong restaurant culture and more than 16,000 eateries.

In mid-July, the government imposed a ban on eating out from 6pm every day.

At midday on Wednesday office workers queued outside restaurants to get takeaway food.

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