Jumbo Floating Restaurant suspends business amid outbreak

March 03, 2020 14:39
Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen is suspending its day-to-day operation from Tuesday, saying the novel coronavirus epidemic has had a severe impact on its business. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong's iconic Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen is suspending operations from Tuesday, saying the novel coronavirus epidemic has had a huge impact on its business.

The Jumbo joins several other major restaurants and eateries in the city that have fallen victim to the outbreak, which has seen 100 confirmed cases of infection as of Monday. 

A spokesman for Melco International Development Ltd. (00200.HK), the restaurant’s largest shareholder, said in a statement on Monday: "As of March 3 and until further notice, Jumbo Kingdom will suspend its day-to-day operation. This decision has been taken in light of the severe impact Covid-19 has had on the restaurants' business. We will continue to monitor the commercial outlook for Jumbo and will provide any relevant updates in due course.”

Sampan tour operators who have signed leases with the Jumbo said they will continue with business as usual until the lease expires at the end of May this year.

A commercial photographer said he would miss the brisk business he used to do with tourists who wanted their pictures taken while seated on the “emperor’s chair” inside the Jumbo.

He said the most he earned in a day was HK$12,000 to HK$13,000 during his five-year stint with the restaurant, but now his daily income has dropped to zero. He said he hopes the Jumbo will reopen soon.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, Jumbo had been striving to keep its head above water; its business had been hit hard by last year's social unrest.

As a result, dozens of its workers were laid off in January.

The epidemic has also brought down a 60-year-old restaurant in Wan Chai.

Yuet Heung Restaurant said in a notice posted on its door that it has been closed since Sunday.

The restaurant is said to have been seriously affected by the months-long anti-government protests and the Covid-19 outbreak, and has decided to suspend operations.

There has been talk that the restaurant might change its operating model and reopen after mid-2020.

The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health on Monday said one more person tested positive for the Covid-19 while a probable case of infection was updated to a confirmed case, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 100, with one probable case.

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A notice posted on the door of Yuet Heung Restaurant in Wan Chai said it has been closed since Sunday. Photo: Internet