Social distancing to be relaxed

April 12, 2021

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


The Government plans to adjust the social distancing measures for restaurants based on staff and customers having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and patrons using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile application.


Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the statement during a press conference today, noting that with the fourth wave of the epidemic which emerged in November last year apparently under control, a new direction in fighting the pandemic will be adopted.


Mrs Lam explained that in response to the aspirations of different sectors and members of the public, the Government will adjust social distancing measures with a "vaccine bubble" as the basis.


Taking the operation of restaurants as an example, she said the number of people allowed to be seated together at one table will be increased from four to six, and their dine-in service can be extended from 10pm to midnight on the condition that all staff have been vaccinated and patrons use the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app.


Customers using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app when entering the premises would no longer need to fill in their personal information on a paper form.


If all the restaurant staff are fully vaccinated, ie after 14 days following the administration of two vaccine doses for production of antibodies, and the customers have received their first jab, the relevant premises will be able to delineate a specified area where operation restrictions can be further relaxed, such as allowing eight people per table to sit together for a meal until 2am.


Banquets of up to 100 guests can also resume once these conditions are met.


Mrs Lam said: “This ‘vaccine bubble’ is very much based on the individual's behaviour or the group of individuals or the venue-based group of individuals.


“If you have been vaccinated and all the staff in the restaurant have been vaccinated, then they can enjoy the relaxed measures in terms of the number of customers per table, the operating hours.”


Under the "vaccine bubble" concept, six types of premises which are currently required to be closed, including bars or pubs, bathhouses, party rooms, clubs or nightclubs, mahjong-tin kau premises and karaoke establishments can resume operation gradually.


The Chief Executive noted that the measures are not expected to be launched until near the end of the month, pending discussion with the relevant trades, adding that the Government does not plan to make vaccination a compulsory requirement at this stage.


“I have announced that the set of social distancing measures that is in place, which will expire on Thursday (April 15), will be extended for two weeks up to April 28. If all the preparatory work and discussion with stakeholders could be completed well within this two-week period, then they can start to kick in in the next round of these measures. That is at least our target.”

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