Takeaways balance out Father's Day

Local | Carine Chow 21 Jun 2021

Restaurants said they saw a 20 percent decrease in business on Father's Day yesterday compared to last year, but more people bought takeaways to have group meals at home.

Under social distancing measures, only a small number of restaurants met the criteria for seating more than four people per table.

"So far there are only some 800 restaurants registered under type C. The majority of restaurants are still operating under type B arrangements and cannot serve customers after 10pm," said Simon Wong Ka-wo, the president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades.

Currently, eateries can register under four types of operation.

Under type A, up to two people are allowed per table and the restaurant can only have dine-in services until 6pm. Most restaurants stick to the type B arrangement.

As for type C, the number of people per table is capped at six and dine-in services can operate until midnight. All employees must have received the first Covid-19 vaccine dose.

Only 14 eateries have adopted type D. These can host a maximum of eight per table and all diners must have received the first vaccine dose while all staffers must have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days.

Wong said that even though the catering business for this year's Father's Day was reduced by one fifth compared to last year, it was better than he expected.

"Big families are more likely to order takeaway and eat at home so they do not have to sit at different tables," he said, adding that the restaurants' takeaway sales increased by more than 20 percent during Father's Day.

Fresh Seafood Restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui used partitions to split up its space.

One half operated under type C while the remaining half was type B. It was fully booked over the weekend.

Lo, its restaurant manager, said that even though the restaurant qualified as a type D caterer, no customers requested zone D.

"Many booked zone C though," Lo said.

Chiu King-lun, the operator of four Chinese restaurants, said this year's business was worse than last year. "Bookings came in at less than 50 percent."

Father's Day dining aside, a survey by the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong revealed that fathers were not spending enough time with their children.

The survey conducted between November and March interviewed over 560 students between primary four and six.

Forty-one percent of respondents talked to their dad for half an hour or less every day.

The organization recommended parents spend at least 30 minutes a day with their children.

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