Businesses fear long wait for border opening

A business representative on Wednesday said he fears it could be anything from a few weeks to a few years before quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the mainland resumes.

Speaking on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme, Danny Lau, the honorary chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association, said most of the group’s members have manufacturing businesses across the border and executives had to undergo up to 21 days in quarantine each time they travel there.

He was commenting a day after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the SAR government was still waiting to hear from mainland authorities whether achieving zero local infections here is still key to the resumption of quarantine-free travel, as they had indicated in talks last year.

“If the situation is not improved it may last for a few years, or a few months, or a few weeks, so it all depends on how they see it,” Lau told RTHK’s Samantha Butler.

“If there are newly developed medications that will be another factor to affect the decision from Beijing.”

Lau also called on the administration to further reduce Covid restrictions so businesses would no longer have to rely on government help.

“To release those restrictions is the priority so that businesses can start to go back to normal. And once they have their business back, they no longer need any support from the government.”

Lam said on Tuesday that the second phase of easing social distancing measures will take effect as planned on May 19, which include allowing bars to reopen, extending dine-in hours at restaurants and dropping the mask-wearing rule for indoor exercising.