Karaokes, clubs, mahjong parlours ordered to close - RTHK
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Karaokes, clubs, mahjong parlours ordered to close

2020-04-01 HKT 15:47
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  • Karaoke lounges had been exempt from new rules aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: RTHK
    Karaoke lounges had been exempt from new rules aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Photo: RTHK
The government has ordered the temporary closure of more types of entertainment venues, after facing growing calls for further restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic.

All karaoke lounges, nightclubs, and mahjong premises must close for 14 days from 6pm on Wednesday to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

The venues were added to a list announced on Friday that covered cinemas, gyms, ice rinks and video game arcades.

The new regulations were published in the government 's electronic gazette on Wednesday afternoon -- without any public announcement. The document said the new regulations came into force as of 3pm on Wednesday, suggesting that the closure order had already taken effect.

However a spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau told reporters that the mandatory closures were not effective at that time, and affected businesses would be given more information later.

It was originally believed that beauty parlours, massage parlours and clubhouses would also have to close, after they were also added to the list of venues in the gazette.

But following widespread confusion, a press release issued by the government just before 6pm – with two corrections in the following minutes – said that these places can remain open, but customers must wear a face mask and have their temperatures checked, and operators should make hand sanitiser available.

Eyebrows had been raised when various entertainment venues were left out of the original 14-day closures which came into effect on Saturday.

Critics described the exceptions as a loophole, and calls for more businesses to be suspended grew louder after five Covid-19 infections were on Tuesday linked to a karaoke lounge in Tsim Sha Tsui.

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Last updated: 2020-04-01 HKT 18:25