Visitors to Hong Kong’s annual global gourmet food exhibition are again banned from sampling the delicacies due to coronavirus restrictions, the organizer said on Tuesday.
Tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors are expected at the five-day Food Expo, which begins next Thursday at the city’s convention and exhibition center.
But for the second straight year there will be no tasting areas and all attendees will be required to keep their masks on due to public health restrictions, according to Sophia Chong, acting CEO of show organizer Trade Development Council.
“We understand that visitors would like to taste the samples,” said Chong.
“We hope to resume this post-pandemic order when it is safe and hygienic to do so.”
The decision came a day after the government said fans of the Hong Kong Sevens would be allowed to drink but not eat in the stands in November, with masks to be worn between sips.
Chong said they are not concerned about the measures’ impact on the exhibition as it is the second year of the tasting ban.
“The number of exhibitors attending this year’s Food Expo actually surpassed last year’s,” said Chong.
A new round of HK$2,000 ($255) consumer vouchers will be distributed to most of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents from Sunday, which the fair organizers say will whet visitors’ appetites for shopping.
Hong Kong strictly adheres to China’s zero-Covid policy and has been enforcing some of the world’s toughest restrictions for more than two years, including mandatory quarantine for arrivals from overseas and a ban on group gatherings of more than four people in public places.
For the past few weeks, the city has recorded 3-4,000 infections a day, prompting fears of a resurgence after more than 1.2 million residents fell ill and 9,300 died in the first four months of this year.
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