Hong Kong’s government on Thursday reversed a day-old ban on restaurants serving dine-in customers — introduced to control the spread of coronavirus — following widespread public anger.
All restaurants in the city of 7.5 million were ordered on Wednesday to only serve takeaways as part of a raft of ramped-up social distancing measures aimed at combating a fresh wave of virus cases.
But social media was quickly swamped by photos of primarily blue-collar workers forced to eat on pavements and parks — and even inside public toilets to escape a torrential downpour.
Restaurant groups with links to influential pro-Beijing parties also voiced dismay at the measures, which had been urged by epidemiologists to slow infections.
On Thursday city authorities published new guidelines saying restaurants could operate dine-in facilities — but only during the day, at half capacity, and with no more than two people to a table.
In the evenings they must stick to only serving takeaway meals.
In a statement, the government said the suspension of dine-in meals had brought “inconvenience and difficulties”.