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Asia Minute: Hong Kong is cautiously open for business

Virus Outbreak Hong Kong disneyland 042122
Kin Cheung/AP
Staff wearing a face mask leads the iconic characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse at the Hong Kong Disneyland, Thursday, April 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

While new cases of COVID-19 are rising in certain parts of the world, they are falling in others. And that includes Hong Kong — which this week dropped some of its social distancing rules and other restrictions.

Mickey Mouse is back in business in Hong Kong.

The local Disneyland opened its gates Thursday for the first time since January.

It’s still operating at only half of normal capacity — just one of the adjustments in a phased reopening for Hong Kong.

People can return to gyms — and to movie theaters.

For the first time in months, restaurants can take reservations up to 10 p.m. — instead of stopping at 6 p.m.

Patrons and employees do both need to have at least one shot of a vaccine.

At the end of next week that will rise to two shots; by the end of May, people will also need a booster.

Case numbers are down, but there is still caution.

The Communist Party’s People’s Daily published a commentary saying “Hong Kong’s epidemic situation is going in a good direction, but we can’t afford to be careless.”

For some businesses, the easing of restrictions comes too late.

The South China Morning Post reports about a third of the 300 24-hour gyms in the city have closed for good.

Restaurants, beauty parlors and other small businesses have been hit.

Many multinational companies have shifted some operations from Hong Kong to Singapore — especially in the financial sector — ranging from JP Morgan Chase to the German Commerzbank and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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