14th September 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Government announced today (14th) that it will gazette most existing social distancing measures for 14 days until the 29th of this month. In addition, the authorities will add a new “vaccine bubble” arrangement for fitness centres to relax the distance between participants in training groups of more than 4 people.
A new arrangement for fitness centres under “vaccine bubble” will be introduced. Apart from the existing requirements, training groups or classes of more than four persons are allowed subject to the following conditions: (a) all staff members present in the room where the training or classes are conducted must have completed the vaccination course; (b) participants are arranged in sub-groups of no more than four persons and a distance of at least 1.5 metres between each sub-group is maintained or some form of partition is in place; (c) all persons who are present in the room must wear a mask at all times (including when exercising); and (d) in the course of the training or conducting a class, the coach must stay at a fixed location at least 1.5 metres away from any other person in the room. Any coach of the training group or class who is unfit to receive vaccination because of health reasons must undergo regular testing.
The Government announced earlier the arrangement to phase out deep throat saliva as a recognised specimen for compulsory testing (see separate press release). Starting from 23rd September, persons currently allowed to use deep throat saliva specimens to undergo testing according to the direction under Cap. 599F (including staff members and passengers of cruise ships who have completed the COVID-19 vaccination course, and performers not wearing a mask in performance venues of places of public entertainment and event premises) can only use combined nasal and throat swab samples collected by professionals for testing purposes.
During the specified period, the existing requirements and restrictions applicable to the following scheduled premises under Cap. 599F will be maintained. They can operate according to the specified Mode of Operation if specified measures are adopted. Otherwise, they should continue to be closed:
(b) premises (commonly known as party rooms) that are maintained or intended to be maintained for hire for holding social gatherings;
(c) establishments (commonly known as clubs or nightclubs) that are open late into the night, usually for drinking and dancing or other entertainment;
(d) karaoke establishments;
(e) mahjong-tin kau premises; and
(f) cruise ships.