Hong Kong May Open Movie Theaters, Gyms This Week, TV Reports


(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong may reopen movie theaters and gyms this week as the recent absence of coronavirus cases prompts the city’s government to further relax social distancing measures, broadcaster Cable TV reported, citing unidentified people.

Other businesses such as beauty parlors could also open again and the limit on the number of people gathering in groups will probably be doubled to eight, according to the broadcaster. Civil servants began returning to their offices Monday and facilities such as museums and libraries are set to reopen their doors later this week.

The move would make Hong Kong one of the first places on earth to reopen such high-traffic venues after the city went two weeks without finding a locally transmitted coronavirus infection. But relaxations would also pose a dilemma for Chief Executive Carrie Lam as they would facilitate the return of the mass anti-Beijing protests that roiled Hong Kong last year.

“The government has been reviewing the feasibility of relevant measures and will make timely adjustments in view of the latest developments of the disease,” a spokeswoman for the city’s Food and Health Bureau said Monday in an emailed response to a Bloomberg enquiry about the report. Lam’s office did not immediately respond to queries.

As to the protests, they’ve been flaring again in Hong Kong after the government last month arrested prominent pro-democracy activists and as the number of virus cases dwindle. That’s drawn the ire of China’s local Liaison Office and increased police efforts to break up gatherings. A key date looms June 4, when tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents gather annually for a vigil to mark the crackdown in Tiananmen Square in Beijing three decades ago.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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