The government said the venues will get a new app, so they can scan their customers’ digital or paper vaccination records.
Besides pubs and clubs, Health Secretary Sophia Chan also said on Tuesday that karaoke bars, saunas, and party rooms will be allowed to reopen from Thursday – as long as all staff and customers have had at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“The reasons why we are trying our best to work with the trade and to reopen these relatively high risk places is on the one hand, we want to resume a normal life but on the other hand, we’re also responsible to mitigate the risk associated with these openings and relaxation,” she said.
Customers at these venues will also need to use the government’s LeaveHomeSafe app.
The premises can stay open until 2am, and there will be a maximum of two people allowed at each table at pubs and clubs, and four per table at karaoke bars and party rooms.
Chan said staff members for whom vaccination is considered unsuitable can instead fill out a declaration form and provide medical proof. But, she said, they are required to get tested for Covid-19 every seven days.
Restrictions were also relaxed for restaurants, which saw their dine-in hours extended to 10pm in February.
The health chief said that if all restaurant staff had been fully vaccinated, they can set up a specific area for customers who have taken at least the first dose of a Covid vaccine.
Within that area, eight customers can be seated at each table, and their opening hours can be extended until 2am. Banquets of up to 100 guests can also be held.
If staff members have only taken the first dose of coronavirus vaccines, restaurants can also set up a specific area, but they are only allowed to operate until midnight and serve a maximum of six customers each table.
The Permanent Secretary for Food and Health, Vivian Lau, admitted restaurants and bars wouldn’t be able to tell whether the vaccination records actually belong to the customers, but she said officers would visit the premises to carry out checks.
“Operators are not empowered to obtain the ID cards to do identity verification,” she said. “But enforcement officers are empowered to do so.”
“By checking the IDs and vaccination records on the enforcement officers’ mobile device, they will be able to tell whether that record belongs to you, so don’t ever try that because we’ll be able to identify those people who knowingly use false or misleading information.”
The officials said restrictions on weddings, annual general meetings and religious gatherings will also be relaxed if participants have taken the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
And Chan said that local tours, up to a maximum of 30 participants, can resume if frontline staff have taken the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Separately, the government announced on Tuesday fresh financial support for businesses that have been shut down.
A new round of subsidy will be provided to premises such as bars, karaokes, nightclubs and bathhouses.
The HK$255 million scheme is expected to benefit 1,150 establishments.
Last updated: 2021-04-27 HKT 21:50