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Restaurant dining, restaurant closure
Photograph: AFP/Peter Parks Customers sit in a restaurant in Hong Kong on January 6, 2022, ahead of the January 7 closure of gyms, bars and evening restaurant dining.

Hong Kong is finally extending dine-in services to 10pm on April 21

Bars and beaches will remain closed, but other designated venues like gyms, performance venues, and museums will reopen

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Tatum Ancheta
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On March 21, the government laid out a road map to ease social-distancing rules in three phases starting April 21. Speaking at her daily press briefing on Thursday, chief executive Carrie Lam announced the first phase of the relaxed measures. Rules will include the extension of dine-in services to 10pm, table service will be increased to four from the previous two, and banquets will be allowed to welcome 20 people. Temporarily closed venues will reopen, including gyms, beauty salons, sports venues, performance venues, theme parks, amusement game centres, places of worship, cinemas, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and museums. Unfortunately, bars, swimming pools, beaches, spas, and BBQ sites will not reopen in the first stage.

Public gatherings will be relaxed to four from the previous two, and household restrictions involving more than two households will also be lifted. Restaurant staff will be required to undergo rapid antigen tests every three days. Entries to designated venues will require the use of LeaveHomeSafe mobile app. Hongkongers without vaccination passes will not be able to enter specific premises. 

Cinema patrons will now be allowed to consume food and drinks during the movie screenings, but entry to the premises is limited to people with three jabs of the Covid-19 vaccine or recovered patients with two vaccine shots, except for children under the age of 12. 

Local tours will also resume, allowing 30 people per tour. The tour staff are required to have three Covi-19 vaccine shots and must undergo rapid antigen tests before tours.  

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department's indoor and outdoor venues will gradually reopen from next Thursday, including sports courts, indoor games halls, outdoor leisure venues such as sports ground tennis courts, bowling green courts, and basketball courts. Outdoor cultural facilities such as a children's playground and areas with fitness equipment will also open. Earlier this month, the government allowed performance venues to operate for rehearsals and recorded or online performances without an in-person live audience to prepare for the potential reopening of designated venues. Sports premises and swimming pools have been opened for training Hong Kong representative teams and squads for specific sports events.

After the Easter holiday, primary schools are scheduled to resume half-day in-person classes, while secondary schools and kindergartens will restart classes on May 3. Students are required to undergo daily rapid antigen tests before entering school premises. 

Based on the initial road map, and if the Covid infections in the city continue on their downward trend, phase two of Covid measures will see bars reopening (operation until 2am, seat up to four people per table), as well as all other temporarily closed venues, including party rooms, karaoke lounges, and swimming pools. Restaurants will be allowed to seat eight people per table, and dine-in services will be extended to midnight. Operating hours for these designated venues and guest capacity will be further extended in the third phase. 

According to authorities, universal testing is still on the cards, but preparations for the exercise are still in the planning stage. The government appeals to the public to create favourable conditions for a resumption of normal operations after the Easter holidays

Related stories:
Hong Kong adds new quarantine hotels for returning Hongkongers
Travelling to Hong Kong? Here's what you need to know
Restaurants, bars, and other venues reopening in Hong Kong
Stay up to date with the city's latest pandemic regulations

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