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Monday, September 28, 2020, 09:06
HK to see socially distanced Golden Week
By Chen Zimo
Monday, September 28, 2020, 09:06 By Chen Zimo

Hong Kong is to experience its first National Day/Mid-Autumn Festival Golden Week with border restrictions and social distancing rules in place, with the local service sector anticipating a boom after a monthslong slump. 

The city’s officials, however, warned the community not to let its guard down, as only effective containment of the pandemic will allow society to open up more and create greater business opportunities for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong officials warned the community not to let its guard down, as only effective containment of the pandemic will allow society to open up more and create greater business opportunities for the city

A four-day holiday for most Hong Kong people will start from Thursday, Oct 1 — when National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival overlap. 

Simon Wong Ka-wo, chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said that it could be a “silver lining” for the local service sector that most residents were staying in Hong Kong for the celebrations. 

ALSO READ: Public urged to remain vigilant as outbreak wanes in HK

He said that restaurant reservations during the coming holidays in Hong Kong have increased by 60 percent in the past week, with about 50 percent of the tables already booked. He predicted that customers could reach 100 percent capacity on Thursday evening.

But Wong estimated that the catering industry’s turnover during this year’s Golden Week would be only 70 percent of that of 2018, and probably the worst performance since the SARS outbreak in 2003. 

In 2018, around 1.5 million mainland visitors came to Hong Kong during the National Day holiday. The number dropped by 55 percent a year later. 

Lawmaker Peter Shiu Ka-fai, who represents the wholesale and retail sector, also told China Daily that many restaurants have been fully booked for the four-day holiday, showing restored confidence and willingness for consumption among residents. 

He believes that delivery services, as well as household brands selling mooncakes to mainland customers, which many enterprises are doing, will boost holiday business. 

Ocean Park and Disneyland, the city’s landmark theme parks, reopened at reduced capacity respectively on Sept 18 and 25 after being closed for two months. Less than 20 hours after the launch of online reservations on Sept 15, Ocean Park was fully booked throughout the coming holiday. Disneyland announced that it was almost fully booked in its first week of reopening.

Hong Kong reported five imported cases and one untraceable local infection of COVID-19 on Sunday, after five consecutive days with zero cases from unknown sources. 

Speaking at a press briefing on the pandemic, Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection urged the public to take precautionary measures, including washing hands and wearing face masks as they enjoy the holidays.

READ MORE: HK adding new medical facilities as city reports 6 new virus cases

In his official blog on Sunday, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, also called for Hong Kong residents to strictly observe the social distancing rules, cooperation and self-discipline during holidays.

The government would continue to take into account the economic impact and the public will in formulating its pandemic prevention policy, Cheung said. It will strive for an early launch of mutual recognition of health codes to facilitate the cross-boundary flow of people in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao so that “Hong Kong can start afresh”, he added.

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