Live shows return as gathering curbs relaxed

Finance | Jane Cheung 22 Jun 2021

Church events, wedding ceremonies, annual general meetings, seminars and forums can cater to the full extent of the venues' capacity if more than two-thirds of attendees have received at least one jab, says Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee.

Live shows can also resume in bars and restaurants as long as performers have taken at least one shot, while fully vaccinated performers at Ocean Park and Disneyland can ditch masks in outdoor parades and shows.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Covid-19 situation has stabilized and it is time to relax social distancing measures when they expire tomorrow.

Chan said the relaxations based on the "vaccine bubble'' concept will take effect from Thursday until July 7.

Restaurants can still operate under the four models of A, B, C and D, with policies regarding the former two unchanged.

For model C in which all staff must receive at least one dose and customers must use the LeaveHomeSafe app, restaurants can cater to 75 percent of their capacity, up from 50 percent.

To encourage eateries to adopt model D - all staff must be fully vaccinated for more than 14 days - restaurants will be allowed to fully utilize their capacities, up from 75 percent. In model D, tables can host up to 12 people and banquets can cater to 180 guests if more than two-thirds of attendees have had at least one jab.

Bars and nightclubs can have four customers per table while karaoke lounges and party rooms can cater to eight per room.

Pools can also allow swimmers at up to 50 percent of their capacity.

If all staff are fully vaccinated for more than 14 days, these businesses can enjoy further relaxations on capacity and operation hours.

For fitness centers, attendees can go mask-free during group exercises if all have been vaccinated.

Noneating or nondrinking events - where organizers can enforce social distancing measures, such as religious gatherings, wedding ceremonies, annual general meetings and seminars - can cater to 50 percent capacity. If two-thirds of attendees have had at least one jab, the restriction can be lifted.

Measures for bathhouses specifying that they must be closed after 2am and staff and customers must be inoculated will remain unchanged.

Cinemas must also continue operating at 75 percent capacity.

Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades president Simon Wong Ka-wo said most restaurants are sticking to model B which allows them to offer dine-in services before 10pm and have four customers per table.

"It will be more helpful if they let those in model B to have dine-in services until 12am and six customers per table," he said.

Lam also said the gathering cap will be kept at four per group and people must continue to wear masks.

She reiterated that people should get vaccinated due to the "undesirably low" uptake rate.

As of Sunday, around 1.94 million Hongkongers - 28.4 percent of the 6.84 million population above 12 years old - have had at least one jab.

These included 844,400 injected with the Beijing-made Sinovac and 1.1 million receiving the German-made BioNTech/Fosun.

Among them, 1.28 million, or 18.7 percent, have completed both shots.

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