New regulations to fight COVID-19

March 27, 2020

(To watch the full media briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Government today announced new regulations to combat the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on gatherings of more than four people in a public place.


Speaking at a press conference this evening, Mrs Lam said there will be exemptions for the four-person limit regulation such as in the workplace and at weddings. This regulation will come into effect for 14 days from midnight on March 29.


A second regulation will require restaurants only to serve half their capacity of customers. Each table needs to be separated by at least 1.5m and only four people can be seated at a table. 


The other part of this regulation will require venues such as cinemas, fitness centres and amusement game centres to close.


The second regulation will come into effect at 6pm on March 28 for 14 days.


Regarding the Government’s plan to temporarily ban alcohol sales in bars and restaurants, Mrs Lam said this was proposed to enhance social distancing.


“That proposal was floated by me, of course, having discussed internally within the Government as a means to enhance social distancing as a result of the large number of confirmed cases arising from customers gathering in bars, particularly in a location in Hong Kong.


“I’m very pleased that upon our suggestion, there has been very extensive discussion and active debate in society on whether that particular measure will be an effective one.”


She noted the consensus is that any measure to tackle the infections should not be focused on a particular sector or setting, adding that the crux of the matter is to reduce social interaction as far as possible.


“So today, we are announcing, with the endorsement of the Executive Council, a piece of subsidiary legislation in order to achieve that objective.


“Any gatherings of four persons or more will be prohibited unless it has been specifically exempted under that piece of regulation.”

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