Hong Kong restaurant earnings dive as pandemic batters business

Hong Kong restaurant earnings dive as pandemic batters business

People dine at tables with partition boards inside a restaurant on Dec 8, 2020 following the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong. (Reuters photo)
People dine at tables with partition boards inside a restaurant on Dec 8, 2020 following the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong. (Reuters photo)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's restaurant earnings logged a record decline last year, dropping 29.4% from 2019 as the Covid-19 pandemic and sweeping social-distancing regulations took a devastating toll on the city's catering sector.

The Census and Statistics Department revealed that overall restaurant receipts for 2020 shrank to HK$79.4 billion (308 billion baht), down from HK$112.5 billion in 2019.

In the fourth quarter, restaurant earnings plunged 25.1% to HK$19.5 billion from HK$26 billion over the same period a year ago.

Hong Kong has been hit by four successive waves of Covid-19, which have left restaurants and other businesses reeling as multiple rounds of social-distancing measures followed in an attempt to curb the spread of the pandemic.

In December, officials imposed stringent precautionary measures at eateries, including banning dine-in services after 6pm and restricting the number of customers to two per table, while bars and pubs had to temporarily close altogether.

About 3,000 of Hong Kong's 16,000 restaurants are believed to be on the verge of closing for good, with an indeterminate number already gone.

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