Hong Kong has extended its social distancing measures for a week until October 1, citing the 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 15th to 21st September, of which a third were locally confirmed. The measures were originally supposed to take place from 18 to 24 September.
That means the gathering ban for groups more than four people will still be in place for Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations and National Day events, both of which are on October 1. Overnight MTR services for Mid-Autumn Festival are cancelled for the second year in a row, but this time due to the pandemic instead of the protests. There have been calls online for a protest on October 1.
Masks are still mandatory in all indoor public spaces, such as cinemas, shops, restaurants, and shopping malls. It is not required to wear a mask in country parks or when exercising outdoors.
Restaurant and Bars
Since September 18, food and drinks can be served in restaurants and bars until midnight, after which customers must leave the premises, though takeaways and deliveries are permissible. Each table at a restaurant can only seat four, with that number halved to two for bars.
Masks are still mandatory at all times except for when eating or drinking.
Live performances and dance floors remain prohibited, while operating capacity remains at 50 percent.
Disneyland and Ocean Park were forced to close their doors to visitors in mid-July amid Hong Kong’s third wave of infections. Ocean Park has reopened on September 18, the day the ban on theme parks was lifted, at 25 percent capacity. Plans are in place to raise the capacity to 50 percent, which is the current limit set by the government for amusement parks.
Disneyland is scheduled to reopen this Friday, on September 25. Guests must book online a week before their arrival, and must make a health declaration during the booking process. The park will be open five days a week, remaining shut on Tuesdays and Thursdays except for public holidays and designated special occasions. Disneyland’s live performances will be restricted to outdoor venues only until further notice.
The Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Space Museum reopened partially today (September 23). Opening hours for the Hong Kong Space Museum are 12.30pm to 5pm. For all other LCSD museums, the opening hours will be from 10am to 5pm for the time being. The regular closing days, which is Tuesday or Thursdays for most museums, remains unchanged.
The 41 public beaches managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) have been closed since July 15, with no information on when they are scheduled to reopen.
Gyms and fitness centres, which have been reopened since September 4, were joined by LCSD’s “fee charging facilities for team games” on September 18 as sports facilities available to the public. These facilities include natural turf and artificial turf pitches for football, hockey, and rugby, indoor sports courts like basketball courts and volleyball courts, and tennis courts. A link to LCSD’s booking website is linked at the end of the article.
Ice skating rinks, though categorised by the government under “places of amusement”, have been reopened since September 11. Only group or private lessons are allowed.
When using these facilities, there must be a 1.5-meter distance between each group of people consisting of at most four people. Groups larger than four must be split into subgroups with a maximum of four people.
There are two exceptions for mask-wearing. While showering, and while doing sports if there is a distance of 1.5 meters between each person. Coaches and trainers must keep their mask on, however.
Free outdoor sports pitches and courts managed by the LCSD, which include hard-surface soccer pitches, basketball courts, and volleyball courts, remain closed.
For public bowling alleys and billiard establishments, each lane or table must not be used by more than four people. Masks are mandatory apart from when taking a shower. Like ice skating rinks, they are also categorised as “places of amusement”.
Apart from those undergoing annual maintenance work, all LCSD swimming pools have been opened to 50 percent capacity since September 18. Like the sports facilities mentioned above, there must be a 1.5-meter distance between each group of people, with groups larger than four having to be split into subgroups of at most four people.
While swimming, showering, or warming up 1.5 meters away from the next person, masks are not required.
Cinemas must not exceed 75 percent of the seating capacity in each house, and no more than four consecutive seats on the same row can be occupied. Fans of popcorn, hot dogs, and sneaking food into cinemas should take note that no eating or drinking is allowed inside a house.
Beauty Parlours, Barber Shops, and Massage Parlours
Beauty parlours, barber shops, massage parlours, and tattoo shops (which are defined as beauty parlours) are all open for business. Staff are required to wear masks and face shields when providing their services.
Weddings and Funerals
Up to 20 attendees can attend a wedding, if no food and drink are served.
Gatherings for a funeral service or for mourning a deceased who has not been buried or cremated are exempted from the gathering ban entirely.
Mahjong/Tin Kau premises and game centres have been reopened since September 11. Facilities must be at least 1.5 meters apart.
For Karaoke establishments, a maximum of four people can be in each room. Like restaurants and bars, food and drinks can only be served until midnight, and the only exception for masks is for eating and drinking.
For more detailed information on all current restrictions, check out the government’s gathering restriction FAQ here.
LCSD’s reopened facilities can be booked here.
(Feature image credit: Harvey Kong)