Hong Kong began to ease major social distancing measures on Friday (May 8) with bars, gyms, beauty parlors, and cinemas reopening their doors after the financial hub largely halted local transmissions of the deadly coronavirus.
Queues formed outside gyms in the semi-autonomous Chinese city on Friday morning for employees to check temperatures as people celebrated the return of some normalcy to the city.
Most of Hong Kong's entertainment venues were shuttered in early April when the city suffered the second wave of infections with primarily residents returning from Europe and North America as the pandemic spread rapidly there. But health officials have made impressive headway against the disease thanks to efficient testing, tracing, and treatment programmes with just over 1,000 infections and four deaths.
New Covid-19 cases have been in the single digits for the last 18 days -- with eleven days showing a zero tally. All new infections are residents returning from overseas who are quickly quarantined.
In a city mired in recession, the reopening of many businesses will be welcome. But the threat of the virus means certain restrictions remain in place.
Bars are permitted to operate at half-capacity and must ensure a distance of 1.5 metres between tables, while live music performances and dancing remain banned.
Gyms, cinemas, and beauty parlours must also ensure social distancing -- such as adequate space between yoga mats -- as well as temperature checks and hand sanitizer.
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