As Hong Kong authorities announced a further extension to social distancing rules this week, video has emerged of a Soho restaurant playing music to a packed dance floor as a bartender poured liquor shots into customers’ mouths.
A Coconuts reader sent in the Instagram stories clips and said they were filmed at a restaurant on Peel Street in Central. They were uploaded to a public Instagram account last Sunday at around 5pm, she said.
In the first clip, the maskless crowd—mostly made up of foreigners—are seen dancing in close quarters with each other, drinks in hand, and singing along to blaring music.
A Coconuts reader sent in this video, filmed last Sunday, of a crowd dancing and bartenders pouring drinks into customers’ mouths at a Soho restaurant.
Black Sheep Restaurants, the group that owns the eatery, is aware of the incident and has addressed it with the staff involved pic.twitter.com/jFH1lSJ0Dx
— Coconuts Hong Kong (@CoconutsHK) January 21, 2021
In the second video, a bartender, whose mask is tucked below her chin, stands up over a table and pours shots into customers’ mouths.
The videos appear to show the restaurant’s monthly “disco brunches,” which it describes in old Facebook posts as a “riotous celebration” with free-flow drinks.
While the date of the videos could not be independently verified, the restaurant had a “disco brunch” on Jan. 17, the most recent Sunday, according to its website. (The restaurant does not seem to have advertised the monthly events on their social media accounts recently.)
When Coconuts called, the restaurant said that the brunch will go ahead in February, but that it is already fully booked.
The restaurant is a member of the Black Sheep Restaurants group, which last year created a “COVID-19 Playbook” detailing advice on how to maintain a safe dining environment amid the pandemic.
Caitlin Gillespie, Communications Manager at Black Sheep Restaurants, told Coconuts in an email that the group is aware of the incident, and that staff at the restaurant have been spoken to about it.
“We are disappointed, embarrassed and we apologize to our guests that we let down,” she said.
Social distancing restrictions targeting the city’s restaurant industry are currently the strictest they have been since the epidemic began last year. A fourth wave of infections forced the closure of bars in late November, and a ban on restaurant dining past 6pm in December, as the industry warned that thousands of businesses may not survive the winter if the government does not step in with a lifeline.
The reader who sent in the videos, who also works at a restaurant, said the clips have been shared in the Save HK F&B‘s WhatsApp group. The alliance is represented by over 10,000 employees working in the restaurant and bar industry.
In the group, many expressed outrage that the restaurant is blindly ignoring social distancing restrictions, while other businesses are abiding by the laws and seeing their business suffer steep losses, the reader told Coconuts.
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