Hongkongers must have received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to eat in restaurants and enter gyms, cinemas and other venues, as the city rolled out the third phase of its Vaccine Pass. And despite declaring the Covid-19 situation to be under control, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said that further relaxations of social distancing measures could be delayed because of a number of cases linked to two bars in Central.

A man scans the QR code outside a restaurant in Kennedy Town on May 31, 2022, when the third phase of the Covid-19 vaccine pass was implemented. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Under the latest requirement, which came into force on Tuesday, residents will need to provide proof of having received three doses to enter premises such as sports premises, hair salons, night clubs and karaoke rooms. Upon request, people must also present their vaccination record at shopping malls, supermarkets and religious venues.

The regulation does not apply to children aged 12 or below, or those holding a medical exemption certificate. For anyone aged 12 or above who received their second dose within the past six months, their Vaccine Pass remains valid, “but they must receive the third dose within six months after receiving the second dose… in order to continue using the Vaccine Pass,” according to a government press release.

See also: HKFP Guide: Hong Kong’s Covid-19 vaccine pass – frequently asked questions

Residents who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, or who are within six months of having had a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine after recovery, are exempt from needing three jabs. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 who have received one dose of the BioNTech vaccine and recovered from the virus also need not have received three doses.

Residents accessing essential government services and those taking part in court proceedings will be excused, as will delivery and repair workers, and those who order takeaway. People entering a specified premise to receive a vaccination, medical treatment or undergo a compulsory Covid-19 test will also be exempted.

As of Monday, 3,876,311 Hong Kong residents – or 57.1 per cent of the population – have received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. To date, the city has recorded more than 1.21 million Covid-19 infections and 9,378 related deaths.

Easing of social distancing rules delayed?

During her weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Lam said the government’s plan to further relax social distancing rules in late June may be delayed owing to the emergence of a number of Covid-19 cases at two bars in Central.

Lam said the easing of regulations would include lifting the restrictions on the number of persons allowed in premises, extending business hours and allowing live performances in bars and clubs.

“As you can see, I’m afraid this situation has emerged in the two recent bar clusters. I can say that we may not implement the third phase of [relaxation] measures in late June,” she said.

“But it seems it does not have much impact on the resumption of normalcy in citizens’ lives,” she added.

On Monday, local health authorities reported 19 additional infections linked to two bars in Lan Kwai Fong. Eight cases involved people who went to Zentral bar on May 21, while 11 cases involved patrons who visited Iron Fairies the same night. So far, the two clusters have a total of 45 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.