The government on Tuesday reassured the public that officials would be flexible when enforcing the new vaccine pass arrangement, saying people would be exempted from the mandatory vaccination requirement if they must go past a shopping mall to return home or get to their workplaces.
In order to qualify for a vaccine pass, people need to have had one jab by February 24 to enter 23 specified premises, including shopping malls, supermarkets and restaurants.
The Permanent Secretary for Food and Health, Thomas Chan, said people would be exempted under "special circumstances", including collecting takeaways, carrying out maintenance work, receiving government service and taking part in statutory procedures.
"If there are certain individuals who have to go past a certain premises like a shopping mall to get to where they live or where they work, they can be taken as a reasonable excuse of not observing the vaccine pass," he said.
"But it doesn't apply to those who are working in these premises themselves. If the premises are subject to the vaccine pass, all the staff members will have to comply with the vaccination requirements. We would have regard to the actual circumstances. In the enforcement guidelines, we do have flexibility for certain cases."
Anyone who violate the vaccine pass requirements without reasonable excuse would be fined HK$5,000, he added.