COVID Catchup: Bar bans, tiny protests, and 130 riot police quarantined

Riot police in Sham Shui Po, October 1, 2019. Photo via Coconuts Media.
Riot police in Sham Shui Po, October 1, 2019. Photo via Coconuts Media.

During this confusing period of working from home, social isolation, and incessant hand-washing, time seems to have lost all meaning. However, we’ve been informed that it is – in fact – Monday today, and quite a lot happened over the weekend. Here’s what you may have missed while you were Zooming with friends you wouldn’t normally talk to/watching Tiger King/moisturizing your poor, chapped hands:

Not-so-happy hour: Bars, pubs, and clubs close for 2 weeks

Last week, the Hong Kong government ordered all bars, pubs, and other venues “mainly used for the sale of intoxicating liquors” to close from April 3 to April 17. (We guess they didn’t get the memo about the whole 20s Prohibition theme being done to death.)

Confusingly, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has said that restaurants with alcohol licenses are still permitted to serve drinks, as long as patrons also order food. Despite Hong Kong’s massive budget surplus, the government has yet to announce any kind of financial aid for businesses and workers affected by the alcohol ban.

Thankfully, many of Coconuts Hong Kong’s favorite bars have introduced home delivery services.

Pro-gov’t group ‘rallies’ to have RTHK journalist fired for viral interview

No public gatherings of more than four people? No problem! Members of the pro-Beijing Defend Hong Kong Campaign staged a four-person protest outside RTHK’s headquarters yesterday, calling for the public broadcaster to fire a reporter over… doing her job?

A spokesperson for the pro-government group accused journalist Yvonne Tong of “inciting Taiwan independence” and “[undermining] China’s territorial integrity” by asking a senior official at the World Health Organization to comment on Taiwan’s COVID-19 containment measures. You can watch the interview at the 19:45 minute mark below, but be warned: it’s awkward as hell.

We’re not sure when the act of saying “Taiwan” became a sackable offense, but okay. At the very least, we have to commend the protesters for observing the government’s ban on gatherings in large groups – of course, whether that was a conscious choice or because nobody supported their cause remains to be seen.

DISCUSS: does it count as a protest if you can count the number of attendees on one hand?

We’re all in this together: 130 riot police quarantined after exposure to COVID-19

Lastly, 130 members of a West Kowloon Police Tactical Unit have been placed under quarantine after two officers from the unit tested positive for coronavirus.

According to the SCMP, a constable in the unit was diagnosed with coronavirus after visiting a bar in Tsim Sha Tsui. Later, a 46-year-old sergeant who took part in the violent mass arrests at Prince Edward MTR station on March 31 also tested positive. After determining the PTU barracks’ shared toilet as the source of the infection, the Department of Health sent 130 male officers from the same unit to quarantine camp.

Other stories you should check out:

Carrie Lam announces sweeping bans on tourists, booze as COVID cases increase
Pro-dem councillor arrested for ‘seditious intention’ after calling for justice for journo blinded by cop

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