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.

social distancing restaurant
A restaurant uses plastic boards to separate customers. Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.
social distancing restaurant
A man is surrounded by empty tables at a restaurant. Photo: KH:)/United Social Press.

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.

Fairwood restaurant social distancing
Inside a restaurant of fast food chain Fairwood. Photo: KH:)/United Social Press.
social distancing Lan Kwai Fong bars
All quiet in Lan Kwai Fong after bars shut down for two weeks. Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

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.

social distancing foreign domestic workers
Foreign domestic workers sitting inside cardboard “castles.” Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

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.

social distancing playground public housing etate
Barricade tapes put up around a public housing estate playground. Photo: Wong Wai Ping/ United Social Press.
social distancing playground facilities barricade tapes
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department puts barricade tapes all over playground facilities. Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

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.

social distancing park swing
Two swings in a park are locked together. Photo: Kevin Cheng/ United Social Press.
social distancing football pitch
The football goal on a hard-surfaced pitch has been removed. Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.
social distancing fitness equipment
Fitness equipment in a playground is barred from usage. Photo: KH:)/United Social Press.
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