(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)

 

The Government will further relax social distancing measures on September 11, Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan announced today.

 

The maximum number of people allowed to be seated together at one table at catering business premises will be increased from two to four, while other requirements and restrictions will remain in effect.

 

More scheduled premises including amusement game centres, places of public entertainment, mahjong-tin kau premises and sports premises will be allowed to reopen. This is in addition to fitness centres, cinemas and beauty parlours which reopened earlier.

 

Meanwhile, group gatherings of more than four people in public places will be prohibited. The existing mask-wearing requirement in public places and on public transport carriers will continue to take effect.

 

These measures will last until September 17.

 

At a media briefing this afternoon, Prof Chan explained that the Government has adopted a phased approach when using the suppress and lift strategy in controlling the epidemic.

 

She said the relaxation of social distancing rules should be done gradually after considering various aspects.

 

“Not only are we considering the epidemic situation, we are also considering the necessity of the activities as well as whether they are essential to daily life, and also the infection risks that can be substantially reduced by enhancing disease prevention and control measures.

 

“We also look into the activities themselves, whether it is a mask-off activity and mask off for how long, and so on and so forth.

 

“One example is that we open outdoor sports activities first and then indoor, and why? Because for indoor activities there is always the issue of air changes, and with the droplet transmission, this could lead to a higher risk of transmission. So these are some of the principles that we always adopt when we are trying to lift these measures or open premises.”

 

Prof Chan also called on members of the public to stay vigilant and maintain good hygiene practices so that the epidemic situation can be further curtailed to make way for the next round of relaxation measures.