Eating and drinking is to remain banned on Hong Kong public transport as other Covid-19 measures are relaxed, the Health Bureau has confirmed to HKFP.

Last Thursday, Hong Kong moved to reopen barbeque pits and scrap restrictions on operating hours for restaurants, clubs and bars.

Yung Shue Wan ferry pier. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The Health Bureau said that the rules were “science-based and targeted.”

“Cap. 599I provides that, during a period specified by the Secretary for Health, a person must wear a mask at all times when the person is, amongst others on board a public transport carrier,” a spokesperson told HKFP on Friday. “‘Eating and drinking’ is currently not a reasonable excuse for not wearing a mask on public transport carriers and in MTR paid areas.”

Whilst consuming food and drink was always banned in paid areas of the MTR, it was previously allowed on many ferry routes.

Respiratory medicine specialist Leung Chi-chiu told RTHK on October 4 that the outdoor mask requirement should be dropped. However, the mandate will stay until the children’s jab rate increases “significantly,” Chief Executive John Lee said earlier this month.

Public gatherings remain limited to 12, whilst arrivals to Hong Kong must undergo almost a dozen Covid-19 tests.

Hong Kong has seen 454,251 confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, according to the government’s Covid-19 dashboard on Sunday. In all, the city has recorded 10,385 deaths.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.