It’s official: With dine-in services extended to 10pm from 21 April, there’s a light at the end of the the long, dark tunnel that has been the fifth wave. Here’s what you need to know about the latest round of Hong Kong’s social distancing rules.
The date 20 April bears a boost in significance this year. Ever since strict social distancing rules went into place 10 February, Hongkongers are finally looking at the beginning of a three-phase road map to ease the restrictions. Rejoice, as dinner service, gyms, cinemas and beauty parlours are once again available to us, while bars and beaches are still on the way.
It’s no surprise that Hong Kong’s recent social distancing measures have left even the most introverted reminiscing of how “normal” life used to be. For more than two months, the city that most certainly never sleeps transforms into a ghost town — like clockwork — when night falls. But with the number of cases per day finally dropping below 2,000, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced the first phase of relaxed measures on Thursday at her daily press briefing. It’s time to start living life again!
Hong Kong’s updated social distancing rules (Starting 21 April)
- Table for two? Make it a party of four: Dinner services are to be extended to 10pm with up to four people per table. The use of the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app is mandated, and vaccination passes will be required to enter specific premises. Meanwhile, catering staff must be vaccinated and are required to undergo rapid antigen testing (RAT) every three days.
- Designated venues will open again: If you missed the gym, cinemas, beauty massage parlours, game centres, theme parks, places of worship, you will be able to visit these spots come 21 April. Moviegoers and cinema staff must have had three vaccine doses (or two for recovered patients) for food and drinks to be served.
- Recreational facilities at your service: Indoor and outdoor venues under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will gradually resume service from 21 April. That includes public sports venues, libraries, children’s playgrounds and museums.
- What’s next? Unfortunately, bars, party rooms, public beaches, pools and barbecue sites will remain closed as far as we know. What we do know is that if the number of confirmed cases continues its downward trend, these venues will see their grand reopening as per the “stage two” arrangements.
So, it’s definitely safe to say things are looking up — check out our list of new restaurants to visit or see which bars to hop in once the second phase is imposed. After all, we’ve been trapped inside for far too long.