Zeman: 35pc of bars wiped out in ‘nightmare’


  • 2021-03-30 HKT 09:20″ title=”Allan Zeman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group says businesses in the bar industry are struggling to survive. File photo: RTHK”>


    Allan Zeman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group says businesses in the bar industry are struggling to survive. File photo: RTHK
    Allan Zeman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group says businesses in the bar industry are struggling to survive. File photo: RTHK

Nightlife entrepreneur Allan Zeman says stricken bar owners had hoped to reopen before the Easter weekend and are disappointed and frustrated to have been left out in an easing of Covid-19 restrictions

The government said on Monday that beaches and swimming pools would be allowed to reopen from Thursday, while cinemas and theme parks would be allowed to operate at 75 percent capacity, instead of 50 percent.

Officials said the changes were minor adjustments rather than relaxation and the time was not right to allow businesses such as bars, karaoke parlours and party rooms to reopen.

Zeman, chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, told RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme on Tuesday that he’d been offering rent relief to tenants to help them survive what he described as a “nightmare” situation for the industry.

“They’ve been, now, closed since November. That’s going on for six months,” Zeman told RTHK’s Janice Wong. “No business I know can survive without having any customers and being closed for so long, especially without any subsidies for them.

“They’ve been crying desperately to me because they were hoping to be open by Easter.”

Zeman said bars with restaurant licences – which have been allowed to reopen – had been able to cope, but businesses such as nightclubs and karaoke parlours were struggling.

He said about 35 percent of the industry had closed and many staff had been laid off as bar owners ran out of money.

Zeman said he understood that the government was listening to experts and was taking a cautious approach. He says he’s hopeful that the situation will change when the restrictions are next up for review on April 14, as long as the number of virus cases stays low.

Hong Kong reported one new local infection on Monday, its first in three days.