Govt expert suggests removal of partitions between tables in restaurants and allow early evening dine-in services


15th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 epidemic has entered its third year, and many venues in Hong Kong have implemented different anti-epidemic measures. The Hong Kong government announced yesterday (14th) that measures such as the ban on dine-in in the evening services at catering premises will be extended for another 14 days. However, Gabriel Leung, a government expert advisor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, said on a radio program today (15th), that Zero COVID-19 policy is almost an impossible task, suggesting that restaurants remove the partitions, but operators must ensure that there is enough space between diners.

He even suggested the government to allow catering premises to offer early dine-in services during evenings until 8pm or 8.30pm.

He added that safer venues such as tennis courts, golf courses, and football pitches can be reopened. Leung said that the common use of partitions in restaurants is a psychological effect, and some studies have pointed out that the main transmission route of Omicron is airborne rather than droplet transmission. According to foreign documents, the glass partitions used by the restaurants to block droplets make it more difficult for the air to circulate. Therefore, he suggested to check whether the panels can no longer be used but to ensure that there is enough space between the tables.

He also suggested that the government needs to give citizens a target that if the vaccination rate reaches 90%, there should be a timetable for returning to normal life.