Hong Kong rugby 7s: Covid food rules are absurd, drinking rules

Rugby fans in the stands of November’s Hong Kong Sevens will be allowed to drink, but not eat, with masks between sips, an official said on Monday.

The Chinese financial hub’s famous rugby romp extravaganza will return after a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic in November, providing a much-needed boost to sports-hungry residents.

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But unlike most major global sporting events, there will be strict measures to combat the coronavirus, including a Beijing Olympic-style “closed loop” system for players.

Hong Kong Sports Commissioner Yong Tak-Keung on Monday revealed what fans can expect from the 40,000-seat stadium, which will be 85 percent full.

While drinking will be allowed in the stands, food will instead be limited to certain “canteens”.

“You need to remove your mask to eat, and we want to reduce and minimize unmasked activities in the spectator stands,” Jung told the city’s public radio station RTHK.

He also said that officials will ensure fans keep their mouths shut.

“We want the spectators to follow the rules themselves, and also the Rugby Union will send out people to remind people to put on masks again after drinking,” he added.

This may prove to be an unenviable task for stadium stewards. The Hong Kong sevens are known not only for rugby but also for rowdy crowds, especially in the South Stand which is known for its fancy dress, party atmosphere and drinking, singing and dancing all day long.

The Hong Kong tournament – the flagship event of the Rugby Sevens World Cup, drawing thousands of international visitors to the city every year before the pandemic – is due to return from November 4 to 6.

But it is unlikely that Hong Kong will see a large influx of tourists anytime soon. International flights remain well below pre-pandemic levels and all arrivals are currently required to undergo a week-long mandatory hotel quarantine.

The new Hong Kong administration, which took office this month, said it plans to shorten the lockdown period soon by introducing a traffic light system similar to China’s.

But so far there are no firm commitments or deadlines for the end of quarantine.

Originally published as Hong Kong’s new Covid rule for rugby sevens seems excessive