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HK to relax gathering rules and open some venues by Friday

05 May 2020

By The SUN

Groups of eight people will now be allowed.

With no new case of Covid-19 being reported for the 10th time in more than two weeks, Hong Kong today (May 5) relaxed social distancing restrictions by allowing groups of up to eight people to gather in public.

The new rules will also see bars, cinemas, gyms, beauty, mahjong and massage parlors reopening, although some restrictions on their operations will continue until May 21.

These include a prohibition on live entertainment and dancing in the bars, tables set at least 1.5 meters apart in dining places, and movie and theater goers being seated farther apart.


Karaokes, party rooms and nightclubs won’t be allowed to reopen until after two more weeks.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam who announced the relaxation measures, also said schools will begin to reopen starting May 27, with students in secondary 3 to 5 being the first to go back.

Those in primary four, and secondary one and two, will return to class on June 8, with other primary school children and those in kindergarten three going back on June 15.

There'll be no classes for the rest of the year for children in kinders one and two.

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The social distancing measures which limited to four the number of people who could get together in public areas, were imposed on Mar 29, when the rate of infections in the city was at its peak.

Today, the city’s tally from Covid-19 remained at 1,040, the 16th day of no new local cases being reported. Only 117 patients are still in hospital, with one in critical condition. The death toll remains at four.

The earlier restrictions also applied to restaurants which were, however, allowed to continue operating. But apart from setting tables farther apart and sitting a maximum of four diners at each table, the restaurants were also required to take the body temperature of anyone entering their premises, and provide hand sanitizers.

A Starbucks lounge area is marked to keep people apart.

Individual violators of the crowd control measures face up to $25,000 in fine and six months in jail. Restaurant operators faced double the amount in fine with the same jail term.

Standing in front of a new backdrop, “Hope on the Horizon” for her regular press briefing, the Chief Executive said restaurants could now sit up to eight people at one table. However, the 1.5 meters distance between the tables should continue to be observed.

Noting that 100 days had lapsed since her government scaled up the city’s contingency level to “emergency”, Lam said: “I fully understand the government’s work to combat the virus was not perfect but we have never let our guard down.

“I hereby have to thank all frontline medical officers and unsung heroes behind the scenes, as well as all citizens.”

Lam also announced that from 7am tomorrow, reusable masks named Cu (see you), as well as disposable surgical masks will be given free to residents with a valid HK ID card.

Those who want to get the disposable mask should register on the CuMask website: (, and they will receive the free masks via mail.

The Cu masks are being distributed by the Innovation and Technology Department, which promises to deliver them within two weeks after registration.

IT Secretary Alfred Sit said those who failed to apply online for the Cu mask could go to the post office to collect one when the online registration period ends after a month.

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