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Venues to reopen, restaurants dine-in extended

2021-02-10 HKT 17:51
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  • Venues to reopen, restaurants dine-in extended
The government says social-distancing rules will be eased after the Lunar New Year break, with the extension of dine-in services at restaurants till 10pm and reopening of venues such as gyms and beauty parlours, as the number of Covid-19 cases heads south.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan announced on Wednesday that some venues that were ordered to close as part of anti-epidemic measures will reopen on February 18, the seventh day of the Lunar New Year.

They include all indoor and outdoor sports venues, gyms, beauty and massage parlours, theme parks, museums, performance arts venues, cinemas, bowling and billiard centres, ice-skating rinks and game arcades.

Restaurants will be allowed to extend evening dine-in hours and seat up to four people per table.

But these establishments will have to comply with additional infection-control measures.

All staff will have to be tested for Covid every 14 days, and patrons will have to use the LeaveHomeSafe tracing app or have their personal information recorded.

“As far as enforcement is concerned, the relevant licence provider, bureau, would be responsible for the enforcement, plus all the authorised offices, and we would of course check the compliance of the LeaveHomeSafe app and also do enforcement appropriately,” Chan said.

These venues will also have to put in place ventilation facilities.

Businesses that fail to comply with the infection control measures would be shut down from three to 14 days, and operators face a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and a six-month prison term.

Chan also said all public services will resume in full on February 18, and the government will seek the Executive Council's approval to relax the public gathering ban from two people to four.

The health chief hailed the mandatory testing operations imposed by the government in the run-up to the holiday, saying they have helped identify 20 positive cases from around 250,000 tests conducted.

This, she said, had helped bring the outbreak under control. She also said the government will not impose any more coronavirus lockdowns before the end of the Lunar New Year break unless there is a sudden change to the virus situation.

Authorities reported 17 new cases on Wednesday, among them four infections with no known sources. Officials also said there are fewer than 20 preliminary positive cases.

Last updated: 2021-02-10 HKT 20:09