Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan Siu-chee said that starting June 16, patrons who wish to enter a bar, pub, club, or nightclub must first show staff a negative rapid antigen test (RAT) taken within 24 hours before they enter these premises. This comes after several new Covid-19 clusters were linked to nightlife venues after they reopened on May 19 as part of the second stage of relaxing social distancing measures.
Chan attributed the recent spike in infection numbers to “a rebound in the fifth wave” and announced that the current social-distancing restrictions will be extended for another two weeks. This means that nightlife venues in Hong Kong can continue to only stay open till 2am, can seat no more than four people together at a table and can operate at only 75% of their capacity until the end of June at the earliest. Live performances and dancing remain prohibited. Patrons must also have a valid vaccine pass and use the LeaveHomeSafe app before entering these establishments.
“We will impose an additional requirement on bars and pubs, as well as clubs and nightclubs that customers before entering these premises will have to show a negative RAT result done within 24 hours. Otherwise, they are not allowed to enter. Effective date of this measure will be between June 16 and June 29,” said Chan. Before entering these establishments, patrons must show staff a photograph of the RAT result, which must have the patron’s name, day, and time of taking the test.
This development comes after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that the government has no plans to relax two key anti-epidemic measures: restrictions on international arrivals and the prevailing social-distancing regulations. The third stage of lifting anti-pandemic measures, which was scheduled to begin in the second half of June, is postponed because of the uptick in Covid-19 cases in the community.
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