When Hong Kong’s pointless Covid-19 rules mean it’s just too much hassle to go out
- While restrictions have been eased on most places, people are choosing to stay at home to avoid having to comply with all the entry rules
- Shops, restaurants, bars entertainment venues and the like may have reopened, but this isn’t the vibrant environment it once was
But I’m convinced that the more than two years of enforced rules to keep out and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the community are having a more lasting and harmful impact on the economy. Penalising people for leaving the city for so long has also sent a message at a more fundamental level: that it is unwise to leave your home.
I’m still working from home even though my company’s office has reopened. Instead of joining a gym, I’m exercising at home to video instructors. Most meals are being home-delivered as online platforms offer far more variety than my neighbourhood and home entertainment has largely replaced my outside patronages.
So much time at home has enabled the learning of basic plumbing and household repair skills that have meant fewer calls to local tradespeople.
More than two years of not having travelled to the mainland or overseas means I have been able to experience Hong Kong to the fullest. Apart from arduous and extreme hiking trails, my “to do” list is complete.
Searching for something different and interesting to do has become a chore; there are only so many times a shopping centre, museum or waterfront park can be visited without boredom setting in. Staying at home with a book, video or music has become so much easier than making the effort to leave my front door.
I’m far from being the only one, as a trendy term to describe the phenomenon, Hogo – or “hassle of going out” – proves. It’s an easy fallback for those among us who have become frustrated and kept off guard by the constantly changing social-distancing rules and requirements.
The barrage of government warnings about the threat of the coronavirus and sometimes lame reasons to justify the restrictions inevitably mean it’s to be expected that going anywhere or doing something can seem like too much trouble. Staying at home has become so much easier, convenient and uncomplicated.
But what I and others like me perceive as a gain is a loss for the business community. Individually, we don’t make much of a difference, but combined, the impact is significant. Shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment venues and the like may be open again, but this isn’t the vibrant environment it was before.
The longer the restrictions and rules stay in place, the less likely it is that the good times will return. There’s even the risk that mindsets are so changed that those days have gone forever. The government talks of rejuvenating and revitalising the economy; its policies and actions say otherwise.
Peter Kammerer is a senior writer at the Post