Starting today, bars and clubs across Hong Kong will reopen as part of the government’s plan to gradually relax social distancing rules imposed during the Omicron-fuelled fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in the city. Restaurants can also extend their opening hours till midnight from today. However, live performances and dancing at restaurants, pubs and bars are still prohibited.

In addition, the maximum number of people allowed at banquets is now 120. Karaoke establishments, party rooms, mahjong premises and other venues under Cap. 599F have also resumed services. Fitness centres and gyms can reopen and mask-wearing is not mandatory at these premises, provided they meet certain requirements regarding air circulation.

Cinemas, which started operations last month as part of the first stage of relaxing anti-epidemic measures in the SAR, now no longer have restrictions on eating and drinking. They can also increase their capacity to 85%. Other premises, such as performance venues, museums, event premises and religious premises, can also increase their capacity to 85%.

The reopening of beaches and swimming pools and an increase in the maximum number of diners per table at restaurants from four to eight were originally part of the second stage of relaxations. However, the government advanced the measures once infection numbers abated and stabilised.

Stage 3, which will begin at the end of June, will see most anti-pandemic rules lifted. The rules regarding compulsory mask-wearing in public places and the use of the LeaveHomeSafe app and the vaccine pass will remain.

Header image credits: Wpcpey via WikiCommons

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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