Well, the booze ban is allegedly off the table (yayyy!), but new infections are through the roof (nooo!)

Authorities are set to implement new measures limiting the number of diners at restaurant tables and capping crowds in bars at half the establishment’s capacity. Photo via Flickr/Cattan2011.
Authorities are set to implement new measures limiting the number of diners at restaurant tables and capping crowds in bars at half the establishment’s capacity. Photo via Flickr/Cattan2011.

Well, the good news is that insiders say the city is backing off of a proposed ban on bars selling booze. But the bad news is you may not want to be going out anyway after Hong Kong announced a massive jump in new COVID-19 infections today, many of them linked to nightlife joints.

Health authorities today announced 65 new coronavirus cases, the largest single-day jump on record by a fairly wide margin. Forty-one of the new cases are believed to be imported, while 19 have been linked to a bars, RTHK reports.

So far, the city has recorded 518 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Hong Kong’s already beleaguered food and beverage industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, and things have only gotten worse since a cluster of cases emerged around the nightlife hotspot of Lan Kwai Fong.

Things were set to get worse still after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the government was planning on banning the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants to prevent patrons from getting, as she put it, “intimate.”

However, unnamed sources told the SCMP today that Lam had decided to drop the measure amid concerns it would devastate the industry.

But other measures are in store, including plans to require restaurants to limit the number of diners at a table to four, and to place tables at least 1.5 meters apart. The government also plans to force to bars to limit their crowds to half their capacity in an apparent bid to encourage social distancing.

The government will also be closing public facilities like parks and playgrounds.

The new measures could go into effect as early as tomorrow.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWSSUB-CATEGORIES: BUSINESS, HEALTHTAGS:

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