Covid-19: Hong Kong enacts 2 person limit in public, fines doubled, private gathering limits, vaccine required for malls

Hong Kong will reintroduce a two-person limit in public and gatherings at private premises of more than two families will be banned from Thursday, as the city battles the fifth wave of Covid-19.

Other new measures announced on by Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday to tackle the Omicron-variant outbreak include:

  • A sixth round of anti-epidemic subsidies totalling HK$26 billion will be rolled out – both businesses and individuals may benefit.
  • Religious venues, malls, department stores, supermarkets, wet markets and hair salons will be added to a list of premises under the city’s anti-epidemic ordinance. Starting from February 24, people entering these premises will be required to present the LeaveHomeSafe contact-tracing app and valid vaccination proof. Random checks will take place. For the time being, Lam said the requirement would not be extended to public transport.
  • Hair salons and religious venues to close from Thursday until February 24.
  • The fines for breaking social distancing rules will be doubled from HK$5,000 to HK$10,000.
  • Only two people will be allowed to sit at tables at restaurants where only staff members are vaccinated.
  • The government will give a one-off payment of HK$10,000 to people suffering from temporary unemployment. Meanwhile, frontline workers fighting the pandemic – such as cleaners, security guards and airport cargo staff – will get HK$2000 per month for five months, starting from February.
  • The Employment Ordinance is to be amended to “avoid labour disputes” caused by anti-epidemic efforts. If employers fire staff for absences due to compulsory test orders or lockdowns, it will be seen as an “unreasonable dismissal” under the amended Labour regulations.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam addresses media on February 8, 2022. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP

See also: Hong Kong veg prices soar as truckers quarantined

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