Hong Kong expat nightlife under threat due to pandemic

Published:  25 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: Hong Kong
For expats considering returning to Hong Kong is the near future, the city's lifestyle may be about to change due to the pandemic.

For the past year, the much-loved lifestyle for expats in Hong Kong has all but disappeared due to the many months of violent street protests followed by the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Just as things began to quieten down and expat professionals who’d left during the riots began to return, the virus hit the city and isn’t about to leave it yet. The world financial hub has long been an all-time favourite for ambitious expats, with its dining and drinking scene a major attraction.

Nowadays, groups of expats and locals are still gathering at popular bars and eating out at upscale restaurants with little concern for the risks of spreading or catching the virus. Finally, Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave up appeals to residents to observe social distancing and announced plans to ban the sale of alcohol in all the city’s restaurants and bars. The news caused chaos amongst both expat and local hospitality businesses, with owners claiming the move will be the last straw for struggling small businesses in the sector.

Many eateries and bars in Hong Kong are expat-owned, with SMEs in the sector now claiming Lam’s threat if carried out will result in the closure of at least 33 per cent of the city’s restaurants. Most have now endured financial losses for three successive quarters, with a ban on alcohol sales the last straw for owners. Some venues in the popular Lan Kwai Fong district have already been forced to close down as a result of the riots, with many more on a knife edge waiting for Lam to decide whether any form of government assistance may be in the pipeline.
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