Coronavirus: top hotel restaurants in Hong Kong forced to close their doors before Valentine’s Day

Date: Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Source: South China Morning Post

  • Several restaurants in top Hong Kong hotels have announced closures of between a week and a month
  • Groups such as Jia Group have sent emails reassuring customers that staff are stepping up sanitation in their outlets

One of the biggest occasions of the year for Western restaurants – Valentine’s Day – may be only days away, but several establishments in top Hong Kong hotels have temporarily shut their doors ahead of February 14 because the coronavirus outbreak has caused such a slump in business.

The outbreak, which has killed more than 400 people and is confirmed to have infected more than 20,000, almost all of them in China, has further reduced visitor arrivals in the city, which had already dropped dramatically as a result of eight months of anti-government protests.

Restaurants have announced closures of between a week and a month.

At The Peninsula Hong Kong, fine-dining French restaurant Gaddi’s – only recently awarded its first Michelin star – and Chesa, which serves Swiss specialities such as fondue and raclette, are closed for a month, with operations resuming on March 4 and March 3 respectively, according to the hotel’s website.

A Peninsula spokesman said: “As part of the preventive measures to minimise the spread of infectious novel coronavirus, we have decided to closed Gaddi's and Chesa until early March. Guests are welcome to visit FelixThe VerandahSpring Moon or Sun Terrace for Valentine's Day celebration.”

At the nearby Kowloon Shangri-La in Tsim Sha Tsui, Italian restaurant Angelini is closed for lunch until February 10, while Japanese restaurant Nadaman in the same hotel is closed for dinner until March 2, according to the hotel’s website.

Over at the Island Shangri-La in Admiralty, Restaurant Petrus, which also has one Michelin star, remains open as usual.

In Tsim Sha Tsui East, J’s Bar Bistro in The Royal Garden closed temporarily from February 1.

“Due to the recent novel coronavirus, business has slowed, so J’s Bar Bistro is taking the opportunity to carry out maintenance work. We will be temporarily closed for four to six weeks,” the hotel said in an emailed statement. It suggests customers have drinks and snacks at Le Soleil, the hotel’s Vietnamese outlet.

Cafe M, the buffet restaurant at the InterContinental Grand Stanford, has ceased its lunch buffet service from Monday to Thursday due to decreasing demand, according to the hotel’s spokeswoman.

However, guests can still order dishes from the à la carte menu, and the lunch buffet will continue to operate from Friday to Sunday, as will the nightly buffets.

Some Cafe M staff there have been deployed to other restaurants in the hotel, the spokeswoman adds.

The same goes for The Food Gallery, the buffet outlet in The Langham Hong Kong in Tsim Sha Tsui, which closed on February 3 with no indication of when it will reopen.

“This is a preventive measure to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and colleagues and we will continue to monitor the developing events to determine when we may welcome guests back to The Food Gallery,” said a hotel spokeswoman.

At the 10 Regal hotels across the city, staff are required to take four days of no-pay leave during February.

Hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong which lost money as sometimes violent protests sparked by a since-withdrawn extradition bill paralysed the city face further losses because of the coronavirus. Edwin Leong Siu-hung, founder of property developer Tai Hung Fai Enterprises, which runs four hotels, told the Post this week that four in 10 hotel staff could be made redundant in the coming months.

Meanwhile, restaurant groups such as Maximal Concepts, Yardbird and Jia Group have sent emails to customers to reassure them staff are stepping up sanitation in their outlets. Jia Group has notified guests that staff will wear masks at all times, and disposable gloves, as well as undergo temperature checks before coming to work.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, however, for now most hotels and restaurants are pushing ahead with special dinners on February 14 and the weekend that follows.


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