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Government fine-tunes mask-wearing requirements in certain premises
     The Government announced today (January 20) that fine-tunings to mask-wearing requirements in certain premises will take effect from January 26 after taking into consideration the operational needs of these premises.
     The Government announced on December 28, 2022 that it would maintain the masking requirements under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I) at this stage after taking into consideration factors including the infection risks, so as to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, with a view to protecting the wearer and others and safeguarding the healthcare system in Hong Kong at the same time.
     Staring from January 26, 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.
     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. The overall mask-wearing requirements (including exemptions) applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises from January 26 onwards are set out in Annex.
     The Government spokesman said, 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.
     In addition, COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in reducing severe cases and deaths. Members of the public should arrange the required dosage of COVID-19 vaccination for their elderly and children as early as possible so that they can get protection early.
Ends/Friday, January 20, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:15
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