UPDATE: In a press release, the government confirmed that the group gathering limit will increase to 12, starting October 20.
Live performances at Hong Kong restaurants and nightlife establishments like pub, clubs, nightclubs and pubs will resume on October 20. During a press conference on Thursday, Undersecretary for Health, Dr Libby Lee, also revealed that the limit on public gatherings may increase from four to 12. However, the date for the rule to come into effect is yet to be decided.
Once the ban on live performances ends, performers will have to take PCR tests twice a week, and a rapid antigen test (RAT) on the days of their shows. They also have to wear masks and maintain as much distance as they can from the audience.
In addition, starting October 20, people can also eat and drink in outdoor spaces of theme parks, an activity that has been prohibited because of the city’s compulsory mask-wearing rule.
When asked why the proposed gathering limit will be set at 12 people, Dr Lee said the government is “observing the effect of each relaxation of measures”. “When we see [that with] the relaxation of measures, the risk of infections could be controlled, then there will be space [for] further [relaxations]. But when we relax some measures and suddenly, there’s a big rebound, then we have to hesitate or we slow down the relaxation,” she explained.
The announcement comes after authorities recently raised the limits on seating at restaurants and nightlife premises. Up to 12 diners may now sit together at restaurants, while no more than six people may occupy the same table at pubs, clubs, bars and nightclubs. The attendance limit at banquets was also increased from 120 to 240 people. However, those who wish to enter nightlife premises or the bar/pub area of a restaurant must first show staff of these premises proof of a negative RAT test from the past 24 hours.
Last month, the government also scrapped the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement for inbound travellers, who must now instead undergo three days of medical surveillance after they enter the SAR.
Header image credits: Screen Capture