In Focus
ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong eases social distancing measures from 28 August

Cinemas, beauty parlors and selected outdoor outdoor sports premises will reopen.

As the number of cases fell, the Hong Kong government has made amendments to the social distancing measures in place and will take effect on 28 August, an announcement revealed. These include dining in till 9pm, removal of masks for outdoor exercises and re-opening of some premises.

The government said that they will allow social and economic activities to resume in a gradual and orderly manner. The first phase includes the reopening of indoor premises for passive activities with little risk and outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact.

Under the same vein, they have extended the hours of dine-in services for catering businesses to 9PM whilst maintaining other infection control measures. These include tables being 1.5 metres apart, the number of customers not exceeding 50% of the normal seating capacity, and that no more than two persons may be seated together at one table.

Cinemas will also be allowed to operate, given that each house for film screening will only take in 50% of the seating capacity, and that individuals must be seated two consecutive seats away from each other per row. Eating or drinking inside is prohibited, and cleaning and disinfection of each house must be conducted after each screening.

In addition, beauty parlours will reopen on 28 August, requiring staff to wear protective gears all the time. The protective gears will also have to be changed or sanitised after service is provided to a customer. A beauty parlour may only serve customers upon appointment, and no more than two persons may be allowed in each partitioned service area.

Lastly, the government will reopen some outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact. These are athletic tracks in sports grounds, tennis and practice courts, golf courses, driving ranges and practice greens, bowling greens, shooting ranges, archery ranges, cycling parks, horse riding schools and radio-controlled model aircraft flying fields.

Further, people are now allowed to remove their masks in country parks. Any strenuous physical activity, including sports activity, in public places (except indoor areas) would be a reasonable excuse for not wearing a mask, the press release added.

However, the government reminded that wearing masks is still required for those taking public transportation, and those entering or present in public places (indoor and outdoor).

"We hope to highlight that it has been over a month since the third wave of the epidemic started but it is not yet over. At this stage, we need the cooperation of members of the public in order to bring the epidemic under control so that social and economic activities can resume gradually," a government spokesperson said.

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