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The Hong Kong government announced further social-distancing measures to contain the spike in coronavirus cases in the city. Citizens will not be able to eat or drink in restaurants at any time of the day. Gathering with more than two people will be banned. The wearing of face masks outdoors will also become mandatory. 

Only those with “reasonable excuses” such as medical conditions will be exempted from compulsory mask wearing in outdoor places. No exemption will be granted for exercise or smoking.

The limit on two people gathering in public does not apply to people living in the same residence. 

The strengthening of social distancing restrictions is certain to increase the resolve of organisations to reinforce work-from-home arrangements for employees. Anyone who violates the rules above will face a maximum penalty of HK$5,000. 

This will be the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants. Authorities had previously banned dining-in from 6pm to 5am and expanded mask-wearing requirements, from public transportation to indoor public venues.

He added it would be ideal to ban dining out entirely and that for the time being people should eat at home or order takeaways.

The city’s tally of infections stood at 2778 as of Monday evening.

 Hong Kong recorded 142 local cases on Monday, the sixth straight day of triple-digit infection figures. Prior to July, the reported number of daily locally transmitted infections had never topped 28.