Published: Tue, March 24, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Hong Kong to ban alcohol sales at restaurants

Hong Kong to ban alcohol sales at restaurants

Residents of mainland China, Taiwan and Macau who have recently been overseas will also be barred from entering the city.

As Hong Kong suffers a new spike in coronavirus infections, anger and recrimination have broken out among the city's expatriates over whether enough of their well-heeled community is taking the outbreak seriously enough.

Additionally, the government has proposed amending laws to prohibit 8,600 restaurants and bars with alcohol licenses from selling alcohol in an effort to promote social distancing, she said.

But Hong Kong said today it was stopping all tourist arrivals and transit passengers at its airport and was considering suspending the sale of alcohol in some venues.

Alcohol will be available in supermarkets and convenience stores across the city.

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The former Portuguese colony last week banned all foreign visitors and foreign non-resident workers from entering the territory but had exempted those from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

She did not specify when the booze ban would be rolled out, but said the emergency legislation was being drafted. "But in bars, people sometimes get intimate after drinking, and this will raise the risk of cross-infection".

Yet in the last fortnight, the number of cases has more than doubled to 356 after locals and foreign residents flooded back once the pandemic spread to Europe and North America. "This achievement is hard-earned", she said in her plea.

"We are investigating any further measures we can do rather than a complete closure of restaurants as we know many Hong Kong residents do not cook at home and often dine out".

Chin Chun-wing, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Bar and Pub Association, said the government did not consult or notify the industry before announcing the measure. Of the 39, 30 had travelled overseas recently.

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