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Religious venues to reopen, but only at half-capacity

19 May 2020

By The SUN

Enforcing social distancing during mass will be a tough task for churches

Churches, temples, mosques and other places where religious events are held, are set to reopen after the latest gathering restrictions imposed by the Hong Kong government expire on Thursday, May 21.

However, the venues will be allowed to take in people at only half their capacity. No eating or drinking will be allowed, except for taking communion.

But except for religious gatherings, no more than eight people are still prohibited from getting together in public. The ban will be extended for a further two weeks, or until Jun 4.
There was no immediate reaction from religious groups to the announcement by the officials made earlier today, May 19.

Fr. Jay Flandez, chaplain for the Filipino community, said the Catholic Diocese still has to issue a statement on whether masses will resume, and when. But he clarified that churches have remained open despite the cancellation of masses to avoid large gatherings.

In the meantime, he said his daily online mass which is live-streamed at 8am via the El Shaddai Facebook page (El Shaddai, DWXI-PPFI, Fellowship H.K. Chapter) will continue. 
Religious venues have mostly stopped holding services at the advice of the government since Feb 15, three days after 15,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in China in a single day, along with 254 deaths.

Since then, many churches have been streaming live daily broadcasts of their masses held with only a handful of people in attendance.

15 public beaches will reopen this Saturday, with lifeguards keeping watch
In a further relaxation of restrictions, facilities run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department including 15 public beaches, 33 public swimming pools, and other sports facilities, will also reopen starting this Saturday.

Gyms, barbecue sites and campsites are still shut, but will be available for use soon, according to Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui.

Karaoke lounges, nightclubs, bathhouses and party rooms are to remain closed for one more week until May 28.


Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.
This comes on the second consecutive day of no new Covid-19 infection being reported in the city, leaving the total tally steady at 1,055. More than 90% patients have been discharged after recovering, while the death toll remains at 4.

Last week, three local cases were reported after a respite of 22 days, sparking concern over a second wave of community transmission.

However, the close contacts of the three family members living in Tsuen Wan  have all tested negative for the virus, although further tests are being carried out in the two housing estates where they live.

“As seen from the recent local confirmed cases, the transmission chain in the community has not been completely broken off yet,” said Sophia Chan, secretary for Food and Health.

She added that authorities are adopting a “suppress and lift” strategy, meaning they will adjust anti-epidemic restrictions depending on the latest developments.

The most recent infections all involved residents returning from overseas, particularly Pakistan.

Health officials have warned the coronavirus may never go away, so people must remain cautious.

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