Bars, nightclubs and saunas have been ordered to close again as the authorities struggle to contain a new wave of coronavirus infections – even though most of the day's new cases are again linked to a cluster involving dance studios rather than watering holes.
The new order takes effect from Thursday and it will be the third time that the city's bars have had to shut since the pandemic began.
The limit on public gatherings will remain at four people and the maximum number of people allowed to sit together in a restaurant is being kept at four. But from Thursday, banquets can only be held for up to 40 people.
With the growing cluster of cases connected to dance studios, Health Secretary Sophia Chan was asked whether dance classes would be banned.
But she explained that some of the venues involved in the cluster are dance schools that are not licensed.
"There may not be laws or licenses regulating these places. But as everyone can see, with the epidemic situation here...we feel all of these high-risk activities should stop immediately," she said.
At a press conference, the minister also said companies are encouraged to allow their staff to work from home again, and if they must go into the office, they should adopt flexible hours to avoid overcrowding on public transport.
People should also stay at home and avoid as much as possible any gatherings with family and friends or dining out, Chan said.
Nightclubs and bars were first closed for about a month in April, despite vigorous opposition from the sector, after outbreaks of cases linked to numerous venues.
They were also among 12 types of businesses ordered to shut again between mid-July and mid-September when another wave of Covid-19 cases hit the territory.
Last updated: 2020-11-24 HKT 18:39
Bars, nightclubs and saunas ordered to close
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