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Curbs on local tour groups, weddings eased

2020-10-20 HKT 16:10
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  • Curbs on local tour groups, weddings eased
Wendy Wong reports
The government on Tuesday relaxed some of its social distancing measures, including local tour groups and weddings, as the city's coronavirus situation eases.

From Friday, licensed travel agencies will be allowed to run tour groups of not more than 30 people.

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, said agencies will be required to record the personal information and contact details of travellers, check their temperature, and ensure they wear face masks at all times except when they are eating.

He said the Travel Industry Council will make sure the agencies comply with the rules. "Tour agents, being the organiser of all these exempted tour groups, will take the extra step in protecting public health in minimising the risks," he said.

Agencies found to have breached the rules could lose their licence.

Yau played down suggestions that the relaxation would encourage more people to venture out, spreading the virus.

He said many people are already out and about as the local outbreak eases, and regulating tour groups could help to mitigate health risks through, for example, the tracing of travellers.

Curbs on weddings will also be eased from Friday, with ceremonies accommodating a maximum of 50 people, up from 20 currently. But no food or drinks will be allowed.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said with a recent drop in new Covid cases, the easing of restrictions will allow more social and economic activities to resume.

Other existing social-distancing measures will be extended by another week, including a ban on gatherings of more than four people in public places and limited seating at bars and restaurants.

Chan was asked why the restriction on gatherings was not lifted. "We still don't want to see crowds gathering... but the risks involving tour groups are manageable as the exemptions come with conditions," she said.