Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release



Government extends social distancing measures under Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance

 




January 19, 2021 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced today that it will gazette directions and specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F), the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I) to maintain the social distancing measures currently in place. The directions and specifications will take effect on January 21, 2021 for a period of seven days till January 27, 2021.

A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said, “The COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong remains volatile. The latest 7-day average number of local cases with unknown source of infection was 17 and a number of confirmed cases were found in certain districts over a short period of time, which showed that silent transmission in the community is still active.”

“The Government tightened social distancing measures on December 10, 2020 and extended the measures for 14 days on December 24, 2020 and January 7, 2021 respectively. Taking into account the latest public health risk assessment, the Government will maintain existing requirements and restrictions applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises, as well as the requirements for group gatherings and mask wearing for seven days. We will continue to closely monitor the development of the epidemic situation and review and adjust the various measures in place from time to time. We will announce the latest social distancing measures in a timely manner.”

The details of the extended requirements and restrictions are as follows:

(I) Catering business and scheduled premises

1) The requirements and restrictions applicable to catering business and scheduled premises (details at Annex 1) will be maintained during the seven-day period from January 21, 2021 to January 27, 2021, including the following requirements: from 6pm to 4.59am of the subsequent day, save for specific premises (details at Annex 2), a person responsible for carrying on a catering business must cease selling or supplying food or drink for consumption on the premises of the business; no more than two persons may be seated together at one table within any catering premises; bars or pubs will continue to be closed; and except club-houses and hotels or guesthouses, all scheduled premises regulated under Cap. 599F must be closed.

Persons responsible for carrying on catering businesses and managers of scheduled premises that contravene the statutory requirements under Cap. 599F would have committed a criminal offence. Offenders are subject to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 (US$6,410) and imprisonment for six months.

(II) Group gathering

2) Unless exempted, the prohibition on group gatherings of more than two persons in public places will continue during the seven-day period from January 21, 2021 to January 27, 2021. The requirement is also applicable to group gatherings in catering business and scheduled premises regulated under Cap. 599F in which the relevant requirements or restrictions are not complied with.

Any person who participates in a prohibited group gathering; organizes a prohibited group gathering; owns, controls or operates the place of such a gathering; and knowingly allows the taking place of such gathering commits an offence under the Cap. 599G. Offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$25,000 (US$3,205) and imprisonment for six months. Persons who participate in a prohibited group gathering may discharge liability for the offence by paying a fixed penalty of HK$5,000 (US$641)

(III) Mask-wearing requirement

3) The mandatory mask-wearing requirement under Cap. 599I will be extended for a period of seven days from January 21, 2021 to January 27, 2021. During the aforementioned period, a person must wear a mask all the time when the person is boarding or on board a public transport carrier, is entering or present in an MTR paid area, or is entering or present in a specified public place (i.e. all public places, save for outdoor public places in country parks and special areas as defined in section 2 of the Country Parks Ordinance (Cap. 208)).

Under Cap. 599I, if a person does not wear a mask in accordance with the requirement, an authorized person may deny that person from boarding a public transport carrier or entering the area concerned, as well as require that person to wear a mask and disembark from the carrier or leave the said area. A person in contravention of the relevant provision commits an offence and the maximum penalty is a fine at level 3 [HK$10,000 (US$1,282)]. In addition, authorized public officers may issue fixed penalty notices to persons who do not wear a mask in accordance with the requirement and such persons may discharge liability for the offence by paying a fixed penalty of HK$5,000 (US$641).


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