In light of the reduced number of local COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong, the government has recently decided to amend the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G) and give new directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) to further relax the social distancing measures. The amendments and directions will remain effective for 14 days starting from 19 June 2020 to 2 July 2020.

The amended Cap. 599G allows group gatherings of up to 50 people taking place in public places. Before the relaxation, only group gatherings of not more than 8 people were allowed in public places.  For the definition of a "public place", please refer to our previous legal update entitled "Overview of the Prohibition on Group Gatherings": https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/publications/2020/04/overview-of-the-prohibition-on-group-gatherings-in-hong-kong

Furthermore, group gatherings at catering business premises (such as banquets at those premises) are now exempted from the prohibition of group gatherings. 

The other exemptions to the prohibition of group gatherings, which are listed in Schedule 1, remain in place.  For example, group gatherings for the purposes of or related to transportation and group gatherings at a place of work for the purposes of work are still exempted. 

The new directions issued under Cap. 599F also removed the limit on the number of persons allowed to be seated together on one table at catering premises and increased the number of persons allowed to be seated together on one table in bars or pubs from 4 to 8. Other requirements and restrictions on catering business premises are maintained, such as the requirement on either maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres between tables or placing some form of partition between tables. 

Regarding “scheduled premises” such as fitness centres, beauty parlours and karaoke establishments, the new directions increased the limit on the number of persons at each group at these premises from 8 to 16 and increased the number of persons allowed to be seated together on one table in clubs or nightclubs from 4 to 8. 

Moreover, live performance and dancing can now resume at catering business premises and “scheduled premises” on the condition that the performers must wear masks at all times, except when there is partition or adequate distancing to serve as effective buffer between the performers and customers. 

For more details on the existing social distancing measures, please refer to the following annex to the government press release, which contains a helpful table summarizing the restrictions:
https://gia.info.gov.hk/general/202006/16/P2020061600761_343616_1_1592309442594.pdf