Group gathering ban gazetted

March 28, 2020

The Government will publish a regulation in the Gazette today to prohibit group gatherings of more than four people in public places.


The Prevention & Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation will commence at midnight on March 29 and take effect for three months.


The Government said the measure aims to maintain social distancing and combat the COVID-19 epidemic.


The regulation empowers the Secretary for Food & Health, for preventing, protecting against, delaying or otherwise controlling the incidence or transmission of the specified disease, to prohibit any group gathering of more than four persons in any public place during a specified period.


In accordance with the regulation, the health chief will issue a notice in the Gazette today to prohibit group gatherings with more than four people in public places, which will take effect at midnight on March 29 for 14 days, until April 11.


Twelve types of group gatherings are exempted, including group gatherings for the purposes of or related to transportation, performing any governmental function, at a place of work for the purposes of work, and of persons living in the same household.


Moreover, the regulation also empowers the Chief Secretary to permit any group gathering if the Chief Secretary is satisfied that the gathering is necessary for governmental operation; or because of the exceptional circumstances of the case, otherwise serves the public interest of Hong Kong.


Any individual who participates in a prohibited group gathering; organises a prohibited group gathering; owns, controls or operates the place of the gathering; and knowingly allows the taking place of the gathering, commits an offence. Offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and imprisonment for six months.


People who participate in a prohibited group gathering may discharge liability for the offence by paying a fixed penalty of $2,000.


The Director of Health may appoint any public officer, as an authorised officer, for the purpose of implementing the regulation. The officer may demand personal details and inspect the proof of identity as well as disperse prohibited group gatherings.


The Department of Health will closely monitor the situation and issue updates through the media and the Government’s COVID-19 dedicated webpage.


Enquiries on COVID-19 health information may be made to the department’s hotline at 2125 1122 from 8am to midnight daily.

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