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Hong Kong’s new social distancing regulations: All the do’s and don’ts

And… we’re back to summer of 2020, when months of lockdown was the norm. Having maintained a solid effort to keep low and trackable cases, Hong Kong was able to return to a normal life for most of 2021. But early 2022 seemed to have other plans for us.

Following the latest announcement by the Hong Kong government, the city will once again be under strict social distancing rules starting 7 January (today), for at least two weeks. The news broke many plans and motivated resolutions, with restrictions on large events, gyms and international travel. 

Despite the reimposition of strict social distancing rules, if you still want to enjoy your January, read on to learn exactly the do’s and don’ts in Hong Kong, as well as what’s open, and who had to close.

Masks

In all public places — public transports, malls, supermarkets, office buildings, and parks — wearing a mask remains mandatory.

However, for hiking, running or exercising at an outdoor park, masks are not required.

Group gatherings

The maximum number of people in a group gathering is now set at four

The maximum penalty for an individual participating in unaccepted gathering is $5,000, an increase from the previous amount of $2,000.

Additionally, as announced by the government, “any person who participated in a prohibited group gathering; organises a prohibited group gathering; owns, controls or operates the place of the gathering; and knowingly allows the gathering” is fined a maximum of $25,000.

Dining 

New dining restrictions taking effect on 7 January require restaurants to close from 6pm to 5am for dine-in services, meaning only take-aways for dinner. However, go ahead and still catch up with friends for lunch, tea, early dinner, all of that, just as long as it’s before 6pm. (See an updated list of restaurants that have adjusted their hours here.) Category C and Category D businesses are allowed to seat tables of 4 and 6 respectively, but still need to close dine-in after 6pm.

Additionally, new dining regulations go into effect 24 February 2022 that require customers must have had at least one COVID-19 vaccination to be able to dine-in at restaurants. Scanning the LeaveHomeSafe app remains mandatory, along with temperature checking upon entry.

Bars and clubs

All bars, pubs, nightclubs, karaokes, mahjong and tin kau parlours and party rooms will be closed from 7 January until further notice. 

Daily activities 

Unfortunately, all public and private gyms, pools and sports facilities will be closed from 7 January for two weeks until further notice.

Per the government announcement, these regulations will be reviewed on 14 January.

Entertainment

Entertainment facilities including theme parks, museums, gaming arcades, bowling alleys, live entertainment venues and ice skate rinks will be closed from 7 January until further notice.

Travel 

Only HKID holders are permitted to enter Hong Kong, and all arrivals have to undergo mandatory quarantine in designated hotels for 21 days. Announced on 5 January, flights to Hong Kong from the following countries; the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, France, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan are banned for two weeks. This applies to both direct and transit flights from 8 January until 21 January 2022

Schools

The government has ruled that schools can remain open.

Work

Per the government announcement, offices and workplaces are allowed to remain open, but business are encouraged to have their employees work from home if possible.

Outdoor activities 

Although gyms may be shut, Hong Kong boasts the most beautiful hiking trails and camping sites. Outdoor activities are welcome to enjoy, but keep in mind to not go in more than a group of four.

Staycations 

If you’ve booked a relaxing staycation, don’t cancel it just yet! Hotels will remain open while imposing strict hygiene procedures. The maximum number of guests permitted in one hotel room is 4, and up to 8 for a suite room. 

Weddings 

Weddings are still allowed to continue, but on a much much smaller scale — perfect if you’re not planning a massive celebration, anyway. Wedding gatherings are limited to 20 people, and no food or drinks are allowed to be served at ceremonies. In the case the celebration is at restaurant or catering premises, regulations of six people per table must be followed. 

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