Attendees of events at certain indoor premises in Hong Kong will be allowed to take off their masks for photographs, starting November 3, said Undersecretary for Health Dr Libby Lee. Speaking at a Covid-19 press conference on Thursday, Dr Lee also said that the government will lift restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants and nightlife venues on the same date.

“For eateries, sports facilities and hotels, conference rooms in guesthouses, as well as multi-purpose rooms, when people take photos onstage they can be exempted from wearing masks. That means people attending wedding banquets can take off their masks when they take photos,” said Dr Lee, adding that the Covid-associated risks involved in taking off masks during such brief periods are manageable.

Undersecretary for Health, Dr Libby Lee, explaining why taking off masks for photographs will be allowed from November 3, 2022

This announcement comes after the government recently declared that people in outdoor areas of theme parks may remove their masks to eat and drink. However, earlier this week, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu reiterated that the general mandatory mask-wearing rule will not be lifted anytime soon.

In addition, the authorities “will lift the 599 scheduled premises operation hours,” said Dr Lee, referring to Cap. 599F, the legislation that governs anti-epidemic measures for restaurants, pubs, clubs and nightlight premises. Currently, restaurants in Hong Kong may only remain until midnight, while nightlife venues must close at 2am.

However, there will be no changes to the number of people allowed to sit together at these premises. According to the current restrictions, no more than 12 people may sit at the same table at restaurants, while a maximum of six people may be seated together at nightlife venues.

Header image credits: Studio Incendo via Wiki Commons

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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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