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Bars to reopen Thu under strict rules, as Covid-19 cases stay low

28 April 2021

By The SUN 

Bars can reopen only if all their staff and customers have had at least one coronavirus jab

Hong Kong’s bars and pubs will be allowed to reopen on Thursday as part of relaxed social distancing measures, but all staff and customers should have had at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan made the announcement at a press conference today, Apr 27, held to launch the so-called vaccine bubble for catering premises.

“The reasons why we are trying our best to work with the trade and reopen these relatively high risk places is on the one hand, we want to resume a normal life but on the other hand, we’re also responsible to mitigate the risk associated with these openings and relaxations,” she said.


Under the stringent new rules, restaurants, pubs, karaoke bars, sauna and party rooms will be allowed to stay open until 2am, but customers will be asked to show proof they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

They will also be required to use the government’s LeaveHomeSafe app before being allowed entry.

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On top of these, only a maximum of two people can sit together at each table in pubs and clubs, and four at karaoke bars and party rooms.

The health chief said that restaurants can also stay open until 2am if their staff have been fully vaccinated, and they set up a designated area for customers who have taken at least the first Covid-19 jab.

Restaurants may also remain open until 2am if their staff are fully vaccinated

Within this area, up to eight customers can be seated at one table, and banquets of up to 100 diners can also be held.

If staff have only taken the first dose of a vaccine, restaurants may also set up a specific area, but they are allowed to operate only until midnight and seat only up to six people to a table.


Diners will be asked to prove they have been vaccinated when entering restaurants that have been allowed to stay open until 2am.

The government said the venues will get a new app, so they can scan their customers’ digital or paper vaccination records.

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Despite the tightened regulations which were approved by the Executive Council this morning, hundreds of Filipinos employed in the catering industry are expected to welcome the reopening of businesses that were among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.

The officials said restrictions on weddings, annual general meetings and religious gatherings will also be relaxed if participants have taken the first dose of the vaccine.

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Chan said that local tours with a maximum of 30 participants can resume if frontline staff have taken the first dose of a vaccine.

The “vaccine bubble” was launched as Hong Kong reported eight confirmed Covid-19 patients, five of them imported. They include a man aged 31 from Turkey and a girl of 15 from Japan who both arrived Sunday carrying the coronavirus strain N501Y.

The man tested at the airport upon arrival from Istanbul on a Turkish Airlines flight, so did the girl, who flew in on a Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo, a spokesman of the Centre for Health Protection said.

A 9-month-old Indian baby girl who arrived Apr 18 on a Vistara flight from Mumbai was found positive on her ninth day of quarantine with her mother at Ramada Hong Kong Harbour View in Sai Ying Pun.

The spokesman said test results for the type of Covid-19 strain the baby had were still pending.

The other imported cases were both female domestic helpers, an Indonesian aged 41 who arrived Sunday on a Garuda flight from Jakarta and an Indian aged 34 who arrived Apr 4 on a Vistara flight from Delhi.

The Indian woman tested positive at the end of her 21-day quarantine at the Silka Seaview Hotel in Yau Ma Tei, the CHP said.

Three of the new patients are local cases who are friends and close contacts of a 60-year-old man from Block 4 of La Cite Noble in Tseung Kwan O who tested positive of the virus on Saturday, a Department of Health spokesman said.

They were a man aged 51 who was staying in the Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, a man aged 42 from Block 4, Bamboo Mansion, Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom, and a man aged 31 who lives at Tower 7, Ocean Pride residential estate in Tsuen Wan.


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