Eating Banned at Hong Kong Food Festival



Announcements in Hong Kong and Germany this week show a sharp contrast between their current approaches to the pandemic. In Hong Kong, the annual five-day Food Expo begins next week, with exhibitors from around the world—but for the second year in a row, eating has been banned, RTHK reports. In pre-pandemic years, hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoyed munching on free samples at the food festival. “We understand the public really wants to sample the food, and of course, as the organizer, we want to allow that, but we need to strike a balance among several aspects,” says Susanna Sin at the Trade Development Council, which has organized the expo since 2019.

“When we look at the current development of the COVID-19 situation, we are still not at the point where we can take off our masks and eat freely anywhere,” Sin says. Masks will be mandatory at the expo, as they are in most public places in Hong Kong. In Germany, meanwhile, organizers say Munich’s Oktoberfest beer festival will return after a two-year hiatus with no restrictions in place, the AP reports. Festival chief Clemens Baumgaertner said Thursday that the celebrations will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3. “It will take place like we know it from 2019, and not in any other way,” he said. After the festival was canceled last year, he predicted that in 2022, it would be “very, very well attended because people are hungry and thirsty.” (Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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