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Only 2 to a table in pubs, and still no live shows

16 September 2020

By The SUN

Only 2 to a table allowed in bars, and no live entertainment

The government has released the detailed guidelines of the more relaxed social distancing measures that will take effect for a week starting this Friday, Sept 18.

The new measures include the reopening of business establishments that were not allowed to open under the last three phases owing to the higher infection risk involved, including bars or pubs.

But despite being allowed to reopen, bars will still not be allowed to have live performances or dancing, and only two customers will be allowed to sit together at each table. Regular restaurants are now allowed to sit up to four people to a table, and offer dine-in services until midnight everyday.

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The continuing restriction against live shows has caused a dampener to the mostly Filipino musicians in Hong Kong, who have been clamoring to be allowed to go back to work.

At a recent meeting with catering legislator Tommy Cheung, the Hong Kong Musicians Union led by chairman Manuela Lo, said most performers had been out of work for the past six months.

They are appealing to get the live shows restored, and have offered to observe stringent social distancing guidelines such as wearing masks during the performance, not interacting with guests, and setting up protective barriers between them and the audience.


Also among the businesses that will be reopened since the third wave of infections in early July closed them down are places of entertainment, including theme parks and exhibition venues, party rooms, nightclubs, karaoke bars and swimming pools.

Despite the marked decrease in the number of new infections which peaked at more than 100 in early August, government officials are still urging caution. They say a fourth wave could occur in the coming winter months so people should remain vigilant.

Thus, the wearing of masks would still be required in public places, except for some premises like fitness and sports centres, but only while people are exercising. 

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A statement released by the Food and Health Bureau said that the new measures are part of the effort to resume social and economic activities while maintaining an effective disease prevention and control.

“However, at the same time, we appeal to public understanding that COVID-19 cannot be eradicated without effective treatment and vaccination, and the virus will co-exist with us for quite a long period of time. It is very likely that we will encounter the fourth wave of the epidemic this winter. Therefore, despite our intention to allow members of the public to resume social and economic activities…it would not be possible for us to relax the social distancing measures by a large extent, such as to the level earlier in June,” said the statement.

It also warned should there be a next wave of infections, the government could again tighten social distancing measures.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

The new requirements and restrictions under Cap. 599F also include the following:

(a) Amusement game centre: Game stations, machines and other facilities should be at least 1.5 metres apart and must not be used at the same time, unless they are separated by a partition; and no more than four persons must play at the same time

(b) Bathhouse: There should be a distance of at least 1.5 metres between persons having a bath; and everyone inside the bathhouse must wear a mask at all times except when having a shower or a bath 

(c) Fitness centre: Everyone inside must wear a mask at all times except when having a shower or are exercising with a distance of at least 1.5 meters from another person, except a coach or staff of the fitness centre who should be wearing a mask. No more than four people should use a fitness station, machine or equipment at the same time; or be in a class together unless they can be arranged to be in groups at least 1.5 meters apart

While swimming pools have reopened, beaches remain closed

(d) Place of amusement: Any person inside a bowling alley and billiard establishment must wear a mask except when having a shower; no more than four persons may play at each billiard table or each lane; only group/private lesson is allowed at ice skating rinks; any person inside the rinks must wear a mask except when exercising, and must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from another person

(e) Place of public entertainment: For cinemas, tickets sold must not not exceed 75 per cent of the seating capacity of the house, seating must be arranged in a way that no more than four consecutive seats in the same row may be occupied, no eating or drinking inside a house is allowed, etc. For places of public entertainment for live performance (except theme parks), only rehearsals or virtual performances, etc are allowed and no live audience is allowed; the number of visitors in theme parks and museum must not exceed 50 per cent of the capacity of the premises; ball pits must be closed, etc;

(f) Party rooms: Everyone inside must wear a mask except when eating or drinking, and no more than four persons may be allowed at each room; all furniture and facilities must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each booked session; ball pits must be closed

(g) Beauty parlour and massage establishment: All staff must wear protective gears such as masks and face shield/goggles at all times when providing service to customers and the relevant gears have to be changed or sanitised after service is provided to a customer; only customers with appointments may be served; and no more than four persons may be allowed in each partitioned service area. 

(h) Club-house: Catering premises within the club-house must operate in accordance with the above restrictions and requirements stipulated for catering business, including the requirement to cease dine-in services during specific periods.

(i) Nightclubs or other premises: No more than 50% of the normal seating capacity must be filled and no more than two persons may be seated together at one table; and live performance and dancing must not be allowed.

(j) Karaoke establishment: The measures include that any person within the karaoke establishment is required to wear a mask at all times except when consuming food or drink; no more than four persons may be allowed in each room; all furniture and facilities must be cleaned and disinfected before and after each booked session, etc;

(k) Mahjong-tin kau premises: Everyone must wear a mask and tile sets must be replaced with cleaned and disinfected ones every time a new player joins or application of disinfection materials with durable efficacy must be applied on the tile sets

(l) Sports premises: Everyone inside must wear a mask except when doing exercise with a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person; each group must consist of no more than four persons; there must be at least 1.5 metres between each group, etc; and

(m) Swimming pool: Everyone in the swimming pool area must wear a mask except when swimming or having a shower, or when doing warm-up exercise with a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person; no more than 50% of the pool area must be filled at any one time; each group must consist of no more than four persons, and there must be at least 1.5 meters between the groups.

Persons responsible for carrying on catering businesses and managers of scheduled premises who contravene these requirements could be prosecuted and upon conviction be sentenced to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

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