Social distancing rules to be tightened

July 9, 2020

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


The Government will tighten existing social distancing measures in view of a recent rise in the number of local COVID-19 cases, Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan said today.


While announcing the new measures at a press briefing this afternoon, Prof Chan explained that the new instructions issued in accordance with the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation will be gazetted today.


The new measures will take effect for 14 days from July 11 to 24.


Among others, the number of customers allowed on the premises of catering businesses will be capped at 60% of their seating capacity, and each table should accommodate no more than eight customers at a time.


Prof Chan said the Government has issued letters to remind smaller catering businesses, including Hong Kong-style cafes, the importance of taking proper measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


“We understand especially from the recent clusters and also confirmed cases that a number of them are from catering businesses - you are right about the cha chaan teng (Hong Kong-style cafe) and smaller catering businesses. We have very quickly, through the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department, done more checking on these smaller catering businesses and also issued letters to them to remind them - not only the customers, but actually the operators of these smaller catering businesses - to actually take the infection control and also public health measures that we have recommended.


“Of course, you know we have now downsized the number from no limit to eight people, so this is a suppression, this is a tightening measure.


“But as far as the smaller businesses are concerned, perhaps the table would not be able to take eight people, but then they should have safe partitions between them.”


Scheduled premises must also adhere to a list of measures to tighten social distancing.


For party rooms and karaoke establishments, the number of people allowed in each room at the same time is tightened from 16 to eight.


For fitness centres, the number of people (including the coach) allowed in each group training or class at the same time is tightened from 16 to eight.


For clubs or nightclubs, the number of people who may be seated together at one table is tightened from eight to four.


Additionally, no eating or drinking will be allowed inside cinemas and all places of public entertainment with live performances.

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