Restaurant capacity limit to be lifted

December 20, 2022

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


The Government today announced that the restriction on capacity of catering premises, bars/pubs and scheduled premises will be lifted on Thursday.


From the same day, the headcount limit for banquet activities will be removed.


The rapid antigen test (RAT) requirement for patrons of bars/pubs, clubs/nightclubs, banquets, passengers of "cruise-to-nowhere" itineraries, and participants in local group tours will also end on Thursday.


In addition, eating and drinking at outdoor areas of places of public entertainment and event premises, outdoor areas of sports premises, and mahjong-tin kau premises will be permitted from Thursday.


Under Secretary for Health Dr Libby Lee made the announcement at a press briefing this afternoon, noting that the Government is seeking every opportunity to relax the social distancing measures so that the city can return to normal.


“Actually, Hong Kong has three years’ experience of fighting against COVID-19. We are heading back to a normal life right now. It is not a question of whether we are going back to a normal life or not, we are actually heading to a normal life. It depends on how fast we are going forward too.


“At the current moment, we will not relax the mask-wearing requirement, as we think that basically, mask wearing is an effective and cost-effective measure against COVID-19 and also other respiratory diseases. So this is actually something that we will not relax.


“Also, we will not relax the Vaccine Pass requirements. We still strongly believe that vaccination is a good protection scheme for all the citizens in Hong Kong.”


Dr Lee added that the Health Bureau will also consider lifting the RAT requirement for school pupils.


“For schoolchildren, we understand that they still need to do a RAT at the moment. We will review this measure in a timely manner because at the current moment it is already the school holiday. We will discuss with the Education Bureau whether this can be also lifted.”


Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection said it is looking into 14,112 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 2,710 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 11,402 via rapid antigen tests.


Separately, 870 imported cases were detected.


Thirty-one residential care homes for the elderly and 10 for disabled people logged 75 cases involving their residents as well as 13 infections among staff.


Meanwhile, there were 3,265 positive cases concerning 2,808 students and 457 staff filed by 840 schools. Fifty-three schools were advised to suspend face-to-face lessons for a total of 62 classes for seven days.


In addition to reporting that 33 patients passed away in public hospitals due to the coronavirus, the Hospital Authority registered 18 more critical patients, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 132.


Due to a number of positive cases, 15 specified places are included in a compulsory testing notice. It also covers another three places in Ho Man Tin and Sau Mau Ping where some sewage samples tested positive for the virus.


People who wish to undergo a free nucleic acid test may visit community testing centres or community testing stations.


As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Wong Tai Sin, Sai Kung, Tuen Mun and Yau Tsim Mong districts, the respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning workers and property management staff working there.


For information and health advice on COVID-19, visit the Government's dedicated webpage.

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