Hong Kong will ease social-distancing restrictions by allowing bars and nightclubs to open past midnight for vaccinated residents starting Thursday, local media reported, as part of efforts to encourage residents to inoculate themselves against Covid-19.
Staff and customers must have had received at least a first dose of Covid-19 vaccines to re-open, said media outlets Sing Tao and Hong Kong Economic Journal, citing unnamed sources.
The new rules will allow bars and nightclubs to remain open until 2 a.m., they reported. They will still need to cap each table to two people, the outlets said.
Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan is scheduled to hold a briefing at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Pubs have been ordered shut since November but some have managed to operate until 10 p.m. by getting a license to serve food, while nightclubs have stayed closed. The media reports come after Hong Kong announced its long-awaited plans to introduce a quarantine-free travel bubble with Singapore next month.
While vaccine supply is abundant in Hong Kong, only about 11% of the population has gotten vaccinated with at least one dose, amid public distrust of the government and concerns about the efficacy of Chinese vaccines. The low inoculation rates could hamper the city’s efforts to reach the herd immunity crucial to fully reopening, prompting authorities to expand access to all adults and come up with measures favoring the inoculated to encourage more people to get jabs.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong reported no local virus transmissions on Monday and the daily number has been below 10 throughout April.
— With assistance by Alfred Liu
This content was originally published here.