Two more eateries suspend business amid Covid-19

March 23, 2020 17:20
A notice posted by Australia Dairy says the restaurant will be downing its shutters for three weeks, starting from March 26, in consideration of the safety of its staff and customers amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Image: Screenshot/WhatsApp

Mark Twain once said, "The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not."

That piece of advice seems doubly relevant now as we strive to keep the novel coronavirus at bay, making adjustments to our lifestyles and foregoing the usual pleasures.

As we hunker down to fight the invisible enemy, many long-standing dining establishments, among other businesses, are taking it on the chin and some are even suspending their operations. 

In the past few days, we had news of two well-known restaurants downing their shutters, albeit temporarily, due to the Covid-19 crisis, fueling animated chatter on social media as to what lies ahead for the sector. 

One of the entities is Australia Dairy Company, an iconic eatery renowned for its scrambled eggs and milk desserts, while the other is an outlet belonging to the Tsui Wah chain.

Australia Dairy, which despite its name has little to do with Australia expect for the fact that its founder had once worked on an Australian farm, is closing its Jordan restaurant for three weeks starting March 26 for a rare Easter holiday break. 

An employee of the shop, which is famous for its signature egg sandwich that is delivered super-fast -- in as little as 90 seconds -- said the closure was aimed at protecting the customers, given the need for social distancing amid the virus outbreak.

Resorting to similar action is the Tsui Wah Restaurant in Central, another long-queue eatery that has suspended its Wellington Street branch for the first time in 22 years.

The famous 24-hour fast-food restaurant, owned by Tsui Wah Holdings, has temporarily closed its doors starting Monday.

Popular with office-goers seeking afternoon tea-breaks, as well as earning a reputation as a final "check-out" spot for the Lan Kawi Fong bar crowd who manage to land hook-ups late in the night, the Wellington Street outlet will be missed by many.

Though painful, restaurant closures are increasingly being viewed as necessary amid the growing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Governments around the world, including in large cities in North America and Europe, have been asking restaurants to suspend the dining business, allowing outlets to offer only take-out.

That is because group-eating is seen as a risky activity, with the diners exposed to potential infection from someone within the room.

In Hong Kong, we all know that among the first few Covid-19 cases here were some that involved a family that had gathered for a hotpot meal during the Lunar New Year period in late January.

More recently, we had as many as eight cases linked to a wedding banquet that took place in Discovery Bay this month. The victims, who include the bridegroom, were believed to have been passed on the infection by a guest who had partied in Lan Kwai Fong a day prior to the banquet.

Given such cases, it is perhaps good that restaurants such as Australia Dairy and Tsui Wah, which usually teem with large crowds, are suspending some operations.

As they say, it is better to be safe than sorry.

For now, let's just hope that the closures would, indeed, be only temporary and that the outlets will be up and running again in the not too distant future.

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EJ Insight writer