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Photograph: AFP/Peter ParksPedestrians cross a busy intersection in Causeway Bay

Things you need to know about Hong Kong's social distancing restrictions

Stay up to date with the city's latest pandemic regulations

Tatum Ancheta
Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
&
Tatum Ancheta
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January 19: The Hong Kong government has announced that quarantine orders for Covid-infected patients will be dropped starting January 30, removing one of the city's biggest social distancing measurements. Additionally, from January 16 onwards, the government is adjusting the evaluation criteria for Covid-19 nucleic acid test results so that persons with results at a Ct value of 35 or above would be regarded as negative.

Other social distancing measures, including the face mask mandate, will remain enforced. Read below for more information about the current restrictions and rules on public gatherings, and stay up to date on what you can or can't do in the city.

RECOMMENDED: Keep updated with the latest things to do and happenings in the city.  

What is the current rule about Covid-19 quarantine rules in the city?
Photograph: Courtesy Hong Kong Government Security Bureau

What is the current rule about Covid-19 quarantine rules in the city?

From January 30 onwards, Covid-positive patients – including those who test positive through PCR tests and rapid antigen tests – will no longer be required to undergo mandatory quarantine. Close contacts of confirmed Covid-19 cases are also no longer required to quarantine.

What is the 'Vaccine Pass' programme?
Photograph: Courtesy Bertha Wang/AFP

What is the 'Vaccine Pass' programme?

Under the 'Vaccine Pass' programme, Hongkongers without vaccination passes will not be able to enter designated premises. From December 29 onwards, citizens will no longer be required to scan their Vaccine Pass when entering any premises.

Specified coloured QR codes assigned on your Leave Home Safe apps will determine your Covid-19 status and health risk before entering the premises. Only those with a Blue QR Code will be allowed entry to the premises. People with assigned Red (positive for Covid-19) won't be allowed to enter.

LeaveHomeSafe users can add up to eight vaccine passes of companions who require assistance, such as those aged 15 or below, 65 and above, and those with disabilities. Children from five to 11 years old are now also allowed to apply for the Vaccine Pass programme.

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Can I eat at the nearest restaurant?
Photograph: Courtesy Miramar Group

Can I eat at the nearest restaurant?

Catering businesses are allowed to extend dinner service without restriction. From December 29, customers are no longer required to scan their Vaccine Pass when entering restaurants, and previous restrictions on limited diners to a table will be lifted.

Since October 20, restaurants have been permitted to stage live music performances. Performers must regularly take Covid tests and present a negative RAT test on the day of their performance at the venue, as well as keep their masks on and remain socially distanced from the audience.

Can I drink at my favourite bar?
Photograph: TA

Can I drink at my favourite bar?

From December 29, bar-goers are no longer required to scan their Vaccine Pass or present a negative Rapid Antigen Test result to bars and nightclubs before entering the premises. Additionally, bars will remove previous existing regulations for maximum venue and table capacity.

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Can I travel?
Photograph: AFP/Peter Parks

Can I travel?

With the amber code on the LeaveHomeSafe app scrapped from December 14 onwards, arrivals to the city will be able to roam freely, as long as they scan their vaccine passes upon entering designated premises.

Hong Kong no longer requires hotel quarantine for travellers entering the city, and inbound travellers will no longer be required to do mandatory PCR tests upon arrival. Arrivals are required to download the Leave Home Safe app when they land in Hong Kong. People who will test positive for Covid-19 will be issued a Red Code, and will be required to self-isolate. Those who tested positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to leave isolation on the fifth day if they test negative for two days.

If you're planning on travelling abroad, we recommended to check the government website of your country of origin and intended destination to see what policies have been put in place and monitor the situation. Heading back to Hong Kong? Here's a guide on what you need to prepare before your departure.  

Visit this link for more information. For information about countries/areas with reported cases of Covid-19, visit this link.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

The government requires mandatory mask-wearing in terminals, public transport, as well as indoor and outdoor public places. Eating and drinking are also not allowed on public transport. 

Hongkongers are allowed not to wear masks in country parks or when exercising or jogging in outdoor areas, as well as when taking group pictures. The government has also allowed citizens not to wear masks when exercising in indoor sports premises and fitness centres. 

If you are caught violating the mask-wearing regulations, you will get a maximum fine of $10,000.

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Do I need to get tested?
Photograph: Shutterstock

Do I need to get tested?

If the government issues a Compulsory Testing Notice requiring individuals who were present during a certain period at any specified venue to be subject to compulsory testing, designated individuals must visit any of the mobile specimen collection stations, community testing centres (CTCs), or recognised local medical testing institutions to undergo professional swab sampling for compulsory testing. Fine for not complying with compulsory testing orders will receive a fixed penalty of $25,000 and imprisonment of six months. 

The government currently acknowledges self-administered RAT tests. Positive results may be reported on the government's designated platform.  

If you’ve tested positive, click here for a complete guide on what to do next

Can I book a staycation or cruise?
Photograph: The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Can I book a staycation or cruise?

Cruise ships are currently operating and the suspension mechanism, requiring cruises to return to port if Covid-19 infection is detected have been scrapped since October 6.

Hotels remain open. Room visitors are required to register their personal information. Intense hygiene practices must be implemented to protect their staff and the guests, which will include regular body temperature screening and thorough cleaning and disinfection of facilities and amenities before the arrival of a new guest. 

Need a staycay? Schedule a weekend getaway from the best beachside hotelsboutique hotels, or luxury camping spots in town. If you're planning a vacation for you and your significant other, check out the best romantic hotels in the city

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Can I get a haircut in the nearest salon?
Photograph: Courtesy Mandarin Salon

Can I get a haircut in the nearest salon?

Salons have reopened since March 10. Nail salons and other cosmetic beauty services have also resumed operations since April 21.

Plan your next visit to the best salons in the city, but make sure to call to check on their new operating hours.

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Can I go out to watch a movie?
Photograph: Courtesy M+

Can I go out to watch a movie?

Cinemas have reopened since April 21. From December 22 onwards, cinemas will be allowed to operate at full capacity. Moviegoers are allowed to eat and drink while watching the movies. Catch the latest films showing in the city this month

Not ready to go to the movie house? Have a streaming marathon and catch our list of the latest Netflix shows

How about sports and fitness centres?
Photograph: Facebook/CrossfitCavaliers

How about sports and fitness centres?

Gyms and LCSD's indoor and outdoor venues have reopened, including sports courts, indoor games halls, and 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 are also operational. 

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Can I go hiking?
Photograph: Shutterstock

Can I go hiking?

Any outdoor activities must be carried out whilst adhering to the social distancing rules. For the latest updates on facilities in country parks, call 1823 for enquiries or visit hiking.gov.hk.

From November 17, campsites have reopened. Public barbecue sites have reopened since November 3. 

Looking for the best hikes in the city? Here's our list of the best hiking trails in Hong Kong

For other thrilling adventures, bookmark our wellness guide to keep you updated with the latest hiking tips, trails, and outdoor activities to do around town. Looking for other adventures? These itineraries will inspire you to get out and experience the city. 

Can I get a massage?
Photograph: TA

Can I get a massage?

Spa establishments and massage parlours are open. Steam and sauna facilities will now be allowed to operate.

Registered Chinese medicine practitioners are allowed to operate, and if you need therapy for medical reasons, physiotherapy centres and certified chiropractic establishments remain open. 

If you're looking for other ways to destress, get started with soothing candles, and essential oils. Or turn your attention to indoor plants to lower levels of anxiety and stress, bring a touch of nature into your homes with the help of these plant delivery services

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What other venues are open?
Photograph: Courtesy Ocean Park

What other venues are open?

Performance venues, theme parks, amusement game centres, places of worship, bowling alleys, skating rinks, and museums have reopened. 

Since May 19, bathhouses, party rooms, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises are allowed to operate. 

Water World Ocean Park also reopened. Book your tickets and online reservations on Water World’s official website. From November 3, visitors to theme parks have been allowed to eat in outdoor areas instead of being limited to food premises. 

What if I have more questions?

In order to address questions from the public, the government has set up an FAQ page about the latest social distancing regulations. For the latest news and announcements from the government, you may visit gov.hk.

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