Revellers flocked to Ocean Park’s reopening on Friday as bars and karaoke lounges were among the Hong Kong entertainment venues welcoming back customers under the latest easing of Covid-19 social-distancing measures . The theme park in Aberdeen opened its doors from about 10am after closing for more than two months during the city’s third wave of Covid-19 . Most of the first 20 or so visitors waiting outside the gates in the morning were adults, including the elderly, with few children given that pupils had resumed classes. ‘Fourth wave may be worse’: Hong Kong eyes Covid-19 vaccine for double population Retiree Ally Ng, 60, was there with her husband to celebrate her birthday and wanted to visit meerkats and pandas. “I visit Ocean Park every once or twice each year,” Ng said. “I have a good impression of the park. Even though it has financial problems, I hope it can run well.” Restaurant owner Jerry Leung, 37, arrived at the park at 9am on his own primarily to see marine animals and penguins. “I want to visit different exhibits to relax,” he said, adding he did not worry about infection risks. A mother, surnamed Law, was among other visitors, along with her two young daughters, who were restless at having to stay at home most of the time during the pandemic. Law said her daughters loved watching the park’s dolphin show and she usually visited the entertainment hub four times each year. “I find the park a bit boring [after frequent visits] but they absolutely don’t,” she said, referring to her children. The attraction must run at half-capacity and all visitors, other than those exempted, had to book ahead online. Wearing masks is compulsory and guests must have their temperature checked at the entrance. Hong Kong records no new local Covid-19 cases for first time since early July The park’s operations and entertainment executive director Timothy Ng Sau-kin said while the attraction could serve about 36,000 guests at a time under its licensed capacity in pre-pandemic days, it would first start running at around 20 to 30 per cent, or between 7,200 and 10,800 people. “As we encountered what experts called the third wave of infections, we will adopt a more conservative approach to handle this,” Ng said. The last time the park reopened, also during the health crisis, was for about a month from mid-June, when it returned at 25 per cent capacity, a maximum of 9,000 guests at a time. “When we see visitor flow stabilising in the first one or two weeks, and operational conditions are suitable, we will then slowly raise the limit step by step,” Ng said, adding that weekends and public holidays, including National Day, were fully booked over the next few weeks. The city’s other theme park, the Hong Kong Disneyland resort on Lantau Island, has yet to resume operations. With the number of new Covid-19 cases dropping in recent weeks, the government lifted more coronavirus restrictions to help revive the economy. Closed since July 15, bars and pubs reopened on Friday, but can serve no more than two people per table and must shut by midnight. Restaurants also have to close at that time, with a maximum of four to a table. Crowds return to struggling Hong Kong businesses as social distancing eased Liberal Party lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, who represents the catering sector, said some premises would use health declaration forms for contact-tracing purposes, and he urged residents to wear masks when not eating or drinking. “Although the government allows [bars] to run until midnight and serve two people at a table … we would need at least have four at a table [for better business],” he said in a press conference, adding some nightlife businesses wanted to be allowed to open between 6pm and 6am. “Some premises only have customers coming in at 11pm or 12am. When you ask them to close at midnight, serve two per table only and run at half capacity, they can’t survive.” Ben Leung, a bar industry representative, estimated that about 10 per cent of the businesses in the sector would choose to remain closed to avoid losses. A representative from karaoke chain Red MR forecast its revenues could only return to around 30 to 40 per cent of normal levels with social-distancing restrictions in place. Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman, a dominant landlord of the city’s famed nightlife district in Central, offered assurances that with residents following the rules, the infection risks could be kept under control. Hong Kong bathhouses prepare to reopen after Covid-19 shutdown “I don’t think we have to worry. There is no difference from getting on the MTR where you have many, many people together … As long as people are careful and each person is watching one another, I am not concerned about another outbreak,” he said. Other establishments such as swimming pools, nightclubs and bathhouses also resumed operations on Friday but had to comply with relevant social-distancing measures set out by the government. Wendy Wong Hung-ying, who runs the Fortress Hill branch of Windsor Spa, said her outlet had around 70 bookings on Friday, down from more than 100 in pre-pandemic days. “The figure is quite ideal. Everything takes time and we have to do it step by step,” said Wong, who expected each customer to spend between HK$500 and HK$1,000 during their visit.