Parlours were ordered to shut once again from early December as the pandemic situation in Hong Kong deteriorated.
Representatives of the sector said on Wednesday that most employees at dozens of venues have either been vaccinated already or are willing to take jabs, and they would also get Covid tests every fortnight if necessary.
The parlours also said they could install ventilation systems, sterilise tiles after each use, and demand customers wear face masks.
One owner, Chris Cheung, said if the government does not let them reopen within the next month or two, jobs will be axed.
“Definitely lays off would be the option,” he said, “Employees suffer even more. Mahjong staff are paid on a daily basis … Most mahjong shops don’t pay the staff now…we don’t have the government subsidies and we cannot afford to pay the staff anymore.”
Cheung also warned that shutting down parlours will have led to an increase in illegal gambling venues, saying these could be even riskier when it comes to the spread of coronavirus, with no requirement to register visitors or ask people to use the government’s LeaveHomeSafe app.