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August 29, 2022

Grindmaster cecilware thailand

Measure requires rapid tests for groups of more than 8 diners

Grindmaster cecilware thailand restaurants say some patrons have cancelled dinner bookings on sunday after the announcement of the rules on friday. (south china morning post photo)
Restaurants say some patrons have cancelled dinner bookings on Sunday after the announcement of the rules on Friday. (South China Morning Post photo)

HONG KONG: Diners in Hong Kong have complained about inconvenience while some restaurants are expecting losses with the government extending mandatory Covid-19 rapid tests to groups of more than eight patrons at eateries.

The new measure – requiring banquet guests or groups of more than eight at restaurants to present a photo of a negative RAT result conducted 24 hours before entry – came into force on Sunday with the city’s daily coronavirus tally set to hit 10,000 soon.

“Patrons in groups of nine or 10 have cancelled dinner bookings after the policy was announced [on Friday]. Fewer people came for dim sum in the morning as well,” said William So Man-sing, assistant general manager of London Restaurant, a Chinese cuisine outlet in Mong Kok.

So said he expected to lose some 20% of business in light of the new measure, adding he had not received any diners in groups of more than eight in the morning.

The restaurant had also prepared 100 RAT kits for potential patrons under this category who had not done the test, So said, but customers would bear the cost of each HK$10 (46 baht) kit.

“I have to cater space for a test area and also need to clean and disinfect the place every time. I hope patrons can do their rapid tests at home, it will be more convenient,” So said, adding he had reminded diners on the phone about the new arrangement.

A staff member of another Chinese restaurant in Mong Kok, who did not wish to be named or to identify the premises, told the South China Morning Post they had notified patrons of the new requirement and some were willing to comply. The outlet expected its business to be affected.

Instead of taking RAT tests, patrons could also present a text message of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result issued within 48 hours prior to entry.

The requirement was an extension of an existing policy for bar-goers.

Despite a seven-day grace period in place for operators until next Saturday, So said he hoped the government could extend this to two weeks, with the change in policy announced only two days ago.

Agnes Lam, 40, who often has large family gatherings with elderly people in their seventies, said she found the new policy inconvenient, but it would not discourage her from such meet-ups.

“We live in different parts of the city so we tend to meet outside. It will be a bit troublesome to conduct rapid tests for senior residents. They thought they had fulfilled the requirement as they were vaccinated. We will need to convince them to adapt to the new measure,” Lam said.

She added that she would probably build up the habit of doing rapid tests more frequently so that she could attend ad hoc social gatherings.

Brian Leung, another patron in his fifties, said he tested himself on rapid kits once every few days anyway.

“It is more secure to be tested before social gatherings, especially when the virus has been spreading quickly lately. I think the requirement is reasonable as the government has not tightened other social-distancing rules, like it still allows eight people dining at the same table,” Leung said.

Chief Secretary Eric Chan Kwok-ki, told a radio programme on Sunday he hoped residents would cooperate and self-test before attending gatherings and banquets.

“As people take off their masks at such events, the risk of spreading the coronavirus is larger,” he said.

“The daily caseload has been increasing, and could possibly exceed 10,000 infections. We need to strike a balance between people’s livelihood and anti-epidemic needs,” he added. “We hope that when the infection number decreases, we can relax the rules again.”

The Hospital Authority on Sunday also announced it would adjust services of some general outpatient clinics by suspending or reducing certain sessions from Monday in a bid to focus resources on people needing treatment for Covid-19.

The ramped-up measures also require infected residents who are aged 70 or above and unvaccinated to be quarantined.

Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau on Friday announced the latest rules, warning that the government might further tighten curbs if the situation worsened. He did not elaborate on potential steps.

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