HONG KONG — Causeway Bay, the heart of Hong Kong’s retail landscape and the world’s priciest shopping district by rent, was eerily quiet at noon on Thursday.
In an area usually swarming with tourists, shop staffers sat idle, fiddling with their smartphones. The Times Square shopping center was a ghost town, and the plethora of big-name stores in the vicinity stood all but empty.
A lack of import tariffs made Hong Kong a haven for luxury brands from around the world. But as pro-democracy protests and the novel coronavirus pandemic have driven tourists away from a city whose economy relies