Coronavirus Hong Kong
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
A “Hong Kong Bar” mural in Central, Hong Kong on April 20. Photo: Dickson Lee

Letters | Let the music play: time to lift ban on live performances in bars and restaurants

  • Readers criticise the ban on small live acts, suggest that policy on ambulances be reviewed, and call for government action on climate change
Feel strongly about these letters, or any other aspects of the news? Share your views by emailing us your Letter to the Editor at [email protected] or filling in this Google form. Submissions should not exceed 400 words, and must include your full name and address, plus a phone number for verification.

As we return to normalcy, signs of city life are reappearing. Restaurants are bustling. Bars are full. Even clubs are packed with people dancing the night away.

Yet many performances remain banned. Musicians, comedians and dancers are all still under strict social distancing rules that ban live performances at catering establishments or, indeed, any venue where food and drinks are allowed. These are the same venues that make money from having performances, and where performers get regularly paid the most.

Officers from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are regularly checking the venues too. They stop by music and comedy hotspots or call in warning about having shows. Some have been raided. Some have been cancelled.

Yet from a policy standpoint, none of this makes sense. How is it that a band in a bar is not allowed but a DJ at a restaurant is? Someone can’t tell jokes on a stage but you are allowed an MC on quiz night?


Hong Kong party hotspot Lan Kwai Fong adapts to social and economic changes since 1997

Hong Kong party hotspot Lan Kwai Fong adapts to social and economic changes since 1997
If we already have to make sure that everyone is vaccinated and are scanning codes for entry and doing RAT tests, why are performers still being strangled? I have yet to hear a single scientific argument for why these policies are in place; there was a cluster of infections involving musicians who performed in bars but that was more than two years ago.

If this city wants to get back to normal, it should allow performers and their audiences to also get back to normal.

Garron Chiu, Pok Fu Lam

Ambulances should not be quiet or slow

On September 22, around 8am, while driving on Tolo Highway heading south towards Junction 4, I noticed an ambulance in the first lane, blue beacons flashing, siren silent, moving very slowly. All four lanes of Tolo Highway were congested, although the hard shoulder for emergency use was free, albeit with some rubbish on it.

I was somewhat surprised that the ambulance driver made no attempt to use the hard shoulder. Was it providing an emergency response and if it were not, why did it display its flashing beacons?

No vehicle gave way to the ambulance, even though it is required by law. When drivers fail to give way, the maximum penalty is a fine of HK$2,000 (US$255).

Anyhow, the ambulance in the first lane inched along, quietly displaying its flashing beacons until it joined another ambulance at Junction 4 – it could have got there at least three minutes earlier if it had used the hard shoulder.

On September 23, at around 9pm, within a space of five minutes, three ambulances drove along Broadcast Drive, two of which had their sirens at such low volumes as to be almost inaudible.

So ambulances can respond more quickly to emergencies, avoid confusion and provide adequate warning to other road users of their approach, I would recommend that the Director of Fire Services review ambulances’ use of hard shoulders, emergency flashing beacons and sirens. Also, is a HK$2,000 fine an effective enough deterrent against drivers who refuse to make way for life-saving ambulances?

Neil Dunn, Kowloon Tong

Protect outdoor workers, but also address climate crisis

I am concerned about the safety of cleaners who work outdoors in the scorching heat, as Hong Kong swelters under a hot spell. According to a recent survey conducted by Greenpeace and the Hong Kong Catholic Commission for Labour Affairs, more than half of the outdoor sanitation and pest control workers interviewed had suffered from heat-related illnesses such as dizziness, headaches and difficulties in breathing.

The government must take steps to safeguard outdoor workers. It should implement regulations to compel employers to ensure their staff are protected from heatstroke, and given adequate water, hats or portable mini-fans. Companies that flout the rules should be subject to fines.

But these are just short-term measures. Ultimately, climate change is the pressing crisis that needs to be addressed. In addition to enacting workplace safety laws, the government should also address climate change in a multifaceted and comprehensive way.

Betty Lam Kam Chu, Kwai Chung