Health directives updated

April 21, 2020

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


Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan today announced that while most social distancing measures to fight COVID-19 will be extended, requiring restaurants to serve at 50% capacity will be suspended.

Prof Chan made the statement when speaking to the press this morning.


She said: “We have recommended and issued our latest directions through our notice gazetted today to suspend the requirement for the number of customers in the catering business premises at any one time must not exceed 50% of the normal seating capacity of the premises.

“Of the eight instructions or directions that I have issued, we think having a distance of 1.5 metres apart and also having an effective partition are really the most important (measures).

“And if one can do these measures effectively - having the tables 1.5 metres apart as well as having an effective partition, probably the number of customers will fall below 100%. So therefore, in considering what to suppress and what to lift, we think this 50% requirement can be lifted for the time being.”

Prof Chan emphasised that while the number of confirmed cases appears to have stabilised in recent days, social distancing measures will remain to safeguard the public from any sudden changes in the COVID-19 situation.


“I think social distancing is one of key measures that we (implemented) to prevent the spread of the virus in the community or prevent a community outbreak. It, coupled together with our testing, our contact tracing and our isolation and quarantine measures must go hand in hand. And also the border restrictions are very important.

“Obviously there are certain criteria, including the global epidemic situation or the pandemic situation. The local situation is also important, that is, whether we have more imported cases (or) local cases.”

Prof Chan explained that the Government considered important factors before deciding to extend social distancing measures.


“On top of this, we also have to look at our capacity, including our testing capacity, our quarantine isolation facilities, the capacity of our healthcare system, whether we can actually take in the number of cases, if we do have confirmed cases.

“There is no fixed or fast formula, although I think the guiding principle, as set by some of our experts and also our Centre for Health Protection, is like 28 days which means two incubation periods.”

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