In a bid to curb the growing coronavirus outbreak, the Hong Kong government announced on Wednesday that it will extend the restrictions on gatherings to late April, while more businesses such as massage and beauty parlours were ordered to close down for two weeks starting on Friday.
Photographers from the United Social Press captured scenes across the city as Hongkongers coped with the social distancing rules.
Eateries have been ordered to cut the number customers they serve by half, while a distance of at least 1.5 meters have to be maintained between tables. No more than four persons can be seated together and customers can only take their face masks off when eating and drinking.
If catering businesses fail to comply with the rules, they are subject to a maximum fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Bars, night clubs, karaoke and mahjong premises were ordered to close on Wednesday too, after multiple infections broke out at entertainment venues. Similar clusters prompted the government to order all businesses exclusively serving alcohol to shut from last Friday onward.
The government has also banned citizens from gathering in a group of more than than four persons in any public space until April 23. A HK$2,000 fine will be imposed on participants of a banned gathering, while the activity organiser and gathering venue owner and operator can face a penalty of HK25,000 and six months in jail.
Last Sunday, Secretary for Labour and Welfare urged foreign domestic workers to practice social distancing by staying home on their rest days, or taking time off on weekdays instead of weekends.
Law said employers should work out a rest day arrangement with their domestic workers and pay additional salary if they work on their day off. But he said the practice is a “special case” during the epidemic, and it should not be seen as a precedent.
After the first round of temporary closures in February, facilities managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department have been shut down again as part of the gathering restriction measure.
The outdoor facilities cordoned off included football pitches, ball courts, children’s playgrounds and fitness equipment.