The Hong Kong government has announced it will extend the coronavirus public gathering restrictions to July 16, while social distancing measures for bars and entertainment premises will be eased.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening, the government said the cap on public gatherings would be maintained at 50. The authorities would, however, relax regulations on religious gatherings, by upping the capacity from 50 to 80 per cent.

Photo: GovHK.

Bars, pubs and public entertainment premises including cinemas and nightclubs would also be allowed to increase the number of patrons from 50 to 80 per cent of the venue capacity. However, other restrictions on catering businesses – such as keeping a distance of 1.5 metres or having some forms of “effective partitioning” between tables – would still be imposed.

The latest measures will take effect on Thursday and will be valid until July 16.

“In view of the latest public health risk assessment, the government is of the view that this is an appropriate time to further relax the social distancing measures such that social and economic activities may further resume,” a spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau said.

Photo: May James.

Police have repeatedly cited the gathering ban to reject applications to organise public processions, including the annual July 1 march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front.

As of June 16, the force has issued 705 tickets of a fixed fine of HK$2,000 to citizens who breached the restrictions, 15 people have been prosecuted.

First detected in Hubei, China, over 10 million people globally have been infected with Covid-19, whilst over 509,700 have died from the disease according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hong Kong registered two new imported coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the city’s tally to 1,205 infections.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.