Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Tuesday that social distancing measures will be further tightened effective February 10, due to the burgeoning Covid-19 cases in the SAR. These restrictions, which include limiting restaurants to seating two per table and banning private gatherings of more than two families, will be in place for two weeks, until February 23.
Only two people will be allowed to sit together at Type B and Type C restaurants, which currently can seat two and four diners per table respectively. Type D restaurants, which require staff to be fully vaccinated, can seat four customers at tables if the diners have received at least one Covid-19 jab.
Additionally, all restaurants will come under the vaccine pass arrangement, which begins February 24. This development means that diners will be required to be vaccinated at least once to be seated. The arrangement will also cover malls, department stores, wet markets, and supermarkets, where law enforcement will conduct random checks of vaccine passes. Under the vaccine pass plan, a QR code on an electronic or paper vaccination record will need to be scanned before entering a venue.
Summary of newly tightened measures
The newly introduced Covid-19 measures include:
- A two-person limit on public gatherings.
- A two-person dining limit except in restaurants where all staff is vaccinated.
- A ban on private gatherings of more than two families.
- The closure of hair salons and religious venues until February 24.
- Compulsory vaccinations to enter religious premises, shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, wet markets, and barber shops or hair salons.
- The penalty for failing to follow social distancing measures will be doubled from $5,000 to $10,000.
- Another round of subsidies to support people affected by Covid-19, totalling $26 billion.
- People who are unemployed due to the pandemic will receive $10,000.
- Frontline workers such as airport staff and cleaners will receive $2,000 per month for five months.
The latest restrictions come after the government made amendments to the city’s quarantine policy. The new measures state that low-risk Covid-19 patients will now be isolated at Penny’s Bay and that close contacts and household members of close contacts can quarantine at home.
Header image credits: Wpcpey, CC BY 4.0