The Hong Kong cityscape extends for miles. (photo by Paul Heney)
Government officials in Hong Kong have announced several coronavirus-related restrictions would be lifted later this month.
According to The Associated Press, Hong Kong said the decline in COVID-19 infections has resulted in the ability to ease some social distancing restrictions, including on private gatherings and restaurants in the evening.
Starting on April 21, restaurants will be able to operate until 10 p.m. with a maximum of four people per table, while businesses like beauty parlors, gyms, theme parks and cinemas will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity.
While some restrictions have been lifted—including allowing more than two households to gather—bars and pubs will remain closed. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said social distancing recommendations remain in place and the government is still advocating for vaccinations.
“To relax these measures, to allow some degree of normal activities in society, with more interactions among citizens, inevitably they will come with some transmission risks,” Lam told The AP. “While the number of positive cases reported every day has dropped to a relatively low level, in absolute terms they are still rather high,” she said.
Other restrictions expected to be lifted later this month also include local tours being allowed to resume and public gatherings of four people instead of two being permitted.
Lam said Hong Kong is now “much, much better prepared” to handle another wave of coronavirus infections if it hits, due to increased levels of vaccination and more facilities to manage patients.