Public facilities to close in virus fight

January 28, 2020

A number of public facilities will be temporarily closed from January 29 until further notice as Hong Kong gears up to prevent the novel coronavirus infection from spreading.


The closures tie in with the activation of the emergency response level under the Preparedness & Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance and will prevent people from gathering.


The Leisure & Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will temporarily close numerous cultural and leisure facilities and cancel recreational, sports and cultural programmes held at these venues. Refund arrangements will be announced later.


Affected land sports and aquatic facilities include all sports centres, sports grounds, grass pitches, artificial turf soccer pitches, tennis courts, squash courts, bowling greens, golf facilities, public swimming pools, beaches, Tuen Mun Recreation & Sports Centre, water sports centres and holiday camps.


All museums, performance venues, public libraries and their study rooms, mobile libraries and the Music Office’s music centres will also be closed.


Additionally, the LCSD will suspend training courses, fun days, carnivals and healthy exercises held at its venues, housing estates and sheltered workshops.


The Leisure Link computerised booking system including counter booking, Internet booking and self-service kiosks will also be suspended until further notice.


The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) will temporarily close the visitor centres at WEEE•PARKT•PARK and EcoPark, and its Environmental Resource Centres


It will also cancel the visitor and education programmes at Community Green Stations and will inform people who have made advance bookings at the affected facilities about the closure arrangements via SMS and Facebook.


The Antiquities & Monuments Office will close Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, Ping Shan Tang Clan Gallery & Heritage Trail Visitors Centre, Tai Fu Tai in San Tin, Old House of Wong Uk Village in Sha Tin, No. 10 San Wai in Wong Chuk Hang, the Fortified Structure at Ha Pak Nai, the Wun Yiu Exhibition at the Sheung Wun Yiu Village, and the information centres at Tung Chung Fort on Lantau Island and Tung Lung Fort on Tung Lung Chau in Sai Kung.


All educational activities and docent services at these venues will be cancelled during the closure period. People can call 2208 4400 for enquiries.


The City Gallery under the Planning Department will also be closed temporarily. People can call 3102 1242 for enquiries.


Sales counters at the Information Services Department’s Publications Sales Unit and Photo Library at North Point Government Offices will be temporarily suspended.


The public can continue to purchase government publications and photos online.


The Hong Kong Wetland Park, eight Country Park Visitor/Education Centres, seven Hong Kong Geopark Park Visitor Centres, and Endangered Species Resources Centre under the Agricultural, Fisheries & Conservation Department (AFCD) will be closed.


The AFCD will also cancel all school and public programmes. Its reception and licensing services provided at Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices will also be suspended. Call 2708 8885 for enquiries.


The Water Supplies Department’s H2OPE Centre (Water Resources Public Education Centre) has been closed until further notice, while its Customer Enquiries Centres will be closed until January 31. Call 2824 5000 for enquiries.


The Department of Health will also adjust its Student Health Service and School Dental Care Service.


All 13 Student Health Service Centres, including Special Assessment Centres, will be suspended starting tomorrow. The centres will contact students with appointments or their parents within four weeks from the initial check-up date to reschedule a new appointment.


School Dental Clinics will remain open with limited consultation service.


Furthermore, the evening dental services of Wan Chai Dental Clinic, Yau Ma Tei Dental Clinic, Sheung Kwai Chung Government Dental Clinic and Pamela Youde Government Dental Clinic in Sha Tin will be suspended. Other dental clinics will remain open with limited consultation services.


Those with appointments who may not be able to attend their scheduled consultation due to special circumstances can call the clinics to reschedule the appointments for later.


The Social Welfare Department announced that all aided child care centres, day care centres for the elderly, sheltered workshops, integrated vocational rehabilitation services centres and day activity centres will suspend their service delivery until February 17.


Those centres will remain open to serve those in need. Call 2343 2255 for enquiries.


The Home Affairs Department meanwhile, said that in addition to the Sham Shui Po Home Affairs Enquiry Centre which was closed earlier for maintenance work, the Home Affairs Enquiry Centres in the other 17 districts will be closed.


All community halls and community centres as well as the Office of the Licensing Authority and the Estate Beneficiaries Support Unit under the department will also be closed.


The 18 temporary cold shelters will remain open when the cold weather warning is in force. Call 2835 2500 for enquiries.


Public services and facilities under the Labour Department will be suspended and closed until February 2. Members of the public scheduled for appointments will be individually informed of the alternative arrangements.


Those who have made a medical clearance appointment with the department's Occupational Medicine Units have to reschedule through the Internet or telephone voice booking system.


The Housing Department will close all Estate Management Offices of Public Housing Estates, including shroff offices.


The Housing Authority said all subsidised housing offices, public rental housing application offices including Lok Fu Customer Service Centre Office and Sham Shui Po Housing Information Centre, Clearance Housing office and Redevelopment Sub-section offices (Pak Tin & Mei Tung) as well as Public Housing Resources Management Sub-section will be closed.


Flat selection sessions scheduled for January 29 to 31 will be suspended, while flat selection sessions scheduled and informed applicants to take place from February 3 to 6 will be rescheduled. The authority will individually inform all concerned applicants.


Separately, the Immigration Department’s Smart Identity Card Replacement Centres, Immigration Branch Offices, other Registration of Persons Offices, Birth Registries, Marriage Registries and the deaths registry in Admiralty will suspend services until February 2.


Some emergency and essential services will also be adjusted. Call 2824 6111 for enquiries.


Public services under the Transport Department will be suspended. Candidates scheduled for road and written tests will be individually informed of the alternative arrangements.


Applicants who have made an appointment for renewing a full driving licence/vehicle licence or application for an international driving permit will have to reschedule the appointment.


The Inland Revenue Department will suspend its services until February 2.


The department said during the temporary suspension of services, deadlines for tax payments, lodgement of objections and holdover applications, submission of tax returns and information will be automatically extended to February 3.


Penalties for failure to submit documents for stamping due to the suspension of services will be remitted provided that the documents concerned are submitted on the extended deadline of February 3.


The Electrical & Mechanical Services Department will close its Registration & Permit Office in Kowloon Bay headquarters. Members of the public may call 2808 3819 for the collection arrangement of Certificate of Registration or other approved permits.


The department’s gallery and education path will also be closed until further notice.


Hongkong Post announced it will suspend the post office counter service, mail delivery service and mail collection from posting boxes from January 29 to February 2. However, it will maintain the delivery service for inbound Speedpost items. 


Call 2921 2222 for enquiries or check online for the latest announcements.

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