The Hong Kong government announced that diners must use the LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) app to enter all restaurants starting today, December 9. Customers must scan the LHS QR code to dine in and no longer have the option of manually recording their information on a form. This condition also applies to cinemas, hotels, fitness centres and theme parks, among other entertainment establishments.

The only people who are exempt from using the app under the new measures are those aged under 15 and over 65, and those with disabilities. However, these exemptions could also be extended to people without smartphones, such as the homeless. The government has prepared tactile-braille LHS covers to indicate the position of the QR codes so that the visually impaired can use the app effectively.

Opening hours for restaurants in the SAR have also been extended to 11pm. This means that the Type A category of dining establishments – which were only open till 6pm and could seat just two people per table – will cease to exist. All restaurants must operate under the rules of Types B, C, or D. Those that opt to move to the Type B category – open till 11pm, with up to four diners per table allowed – must arrange for staff to undergo Covid-19 testing every seven days if they have not completed a vaccination course.

These developments are the latest in Hong Kong’s efforts to step up contact tracing after use of the LHS app was made mandatory to enter government buildings and Leisure and Cultural Service venues on November 1.

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Header image credits: LIOUAMCOC 600, CC BY-SA 4.0)

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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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