Why travelers to Hong Kong cannot dine out for Christmas?

November 30, 2022 10:16
Photo: Reuters

Say you invite someone to your home for a Christmas meal but ask them not to eat inside, would they come?

Hong Kong is stuck in this awkward situation. Under the current “0+3” rule, for the first three days of their visit, tourists are not allowed to eat in public venue, with an aim to minimizing the chance of infecting the locals.

So, they would have to eat inside their room, on the street, or at someone ‘s home at least until next year, according to a local paper.

Well, they can eat in pubic venue if they join a group tour to some specific venue, but unfortunately there are only eight restaurants which provide such service, with lunch charge of between HK$100 and HK$150 and dinner charge of between HK$150 and HK$200.

I had this embarrassing experience this week when I could not think of a place to treat a close classmate who visited Hong Kong from Silicon Valley almost every year.

The first idea I had was a two-dish rice in a park with two other classmates. Luckily, we found a restaurant inside a certain park which allowed people to eat with their plastic lunch boxes.

Who cares the blue code of the leavehomesafe app? Almost three years now into the pandemic, I have never experienced the law enforcement of checking people – particularly those who are yet to be vaccinated – if they can legally eat in public.

Last weekend, we went with this classmate (who could still recall the ultra-long three-week quarantine last year) to Tsim Sha Tsui where we found neither restaurant nor bar open on the once crowded Ashley Road during the World Cup game with France against Denmark.

Now, do you think the classmate would still come back next year? Or would it be better for him to invite his family to Taiwan where he can at least have Ding Tai Fung famous xialongbao in public.

If he does not want to wear masks, he can go to Singapore where people are not wearing masks since this March, although they would do so in public transport.

With more than 82 per cent of Hong Kong residents having already taken the third jab, why do we still have to observe the stupid social distancing measures?

All hopes that more relaxation will come next year in the third Covid-19 anniversary, but it would be more likely to come after winter, especially when China is fighting the spread of virus ahead of winter with more stringent measures like we saw this spring.

Still there are hopes, but we probably need to be more patient in the next three months. That is also why Japan, not Hong Kong, is a better place to celebrate Christmas and Chinese New Year.

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EJ Insight writer