HK gov’t modifies mask mandate; cites some exemptions

The Hong Kong Government announced yesterday (20 January), that from January 26, there will be changes in some premises to mask-wearing after taking into consideration the operational needs of these premises.

In a statement the government said that Mask-wearing would be exempted under the following scenarios after the fine-tuning:
(1) when delivering a speech to participants in a religious activity as a host or speaker in a religious premises;
(2)  when consuming food or drink at a table or an exhibition booth during an exhibition activity in a place of public entertainment or event premises; and
(3)  when toasting on stage at an event in catering premises or any scheduled premises.

Accordingly, the Government will gazette the specifications and directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) and Cap. 599I accordingly.

Likewise, the overall mask-wearing requirements (including exemptions) applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises from January 26 onwards are set out in Annex.

“Hong Kong is currently in the midst of the winter surge of influenza, and the COVID-19 virus still poses a threat to our community, in particular the elderly and children, and may pose risks and burden to our healthcare system. The Government appeals to members of the public to continue to remain vigilant and observe personal hygiene to reduce the risk of infection while celebrating the Lunar New Year,” the government spokesperson said.

COVID-19 vaccines are also highly effective in reducing severe cases and deaths. Members of the public are likewise advised to arrange the required dosage of COVID-19 vaccination for their elderly and children as early as possible so that they can get protection early