The Hong Kong government announced that all beaches in the SAR will be closed, starting today, March 17. This restriction will affect gazetted beaches managed by the government.
This development comes after reports that beaches over the past weekend were crowded with unmasked beach goers, prompting Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to recommend that they be cordoned off like they had been in 2020.
At a press briefing on March 16, Lam said, “The management of beaches falls under the LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department). The service at swimming beaches has been suspended for a long time. Many people nowadays visit the beaches since the weather is hot, and sometimes they have no masks on. So the LCSD might have to reinforce the management of these beaches by sealing off these beaches and this is a move we once put in place previously.”
While beaches weren’t cordoned off in months before, lifeguard services at 30 gazetted beaches have been suspended since November 2021 as part of the LCSD’s winter arrangement. In January, these services were suspended for nine other beaches due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking at a press conference after the government made the announcement about beach closures, Dr. Edwin Tsui, Centre for Health Protection Controller, said, “Our current measures is to enhance our stringent social distancing measures, especially when there are gatherings […] especially for the outdoors, like beaches.”