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In what businesses across Hong Kong are hailing as a welcome shot in the arm, the government announced yesterday that bars, nightclubs, public bathhouses, karaoke, party rooms and mahjong/Tin Kau parlours will all be allowed to reopen under the new vaccine bubble.

If all employees and customers have received their first jab of Covid vaccination and customers use the LeaveHomeSafe app, they will be allowed to remain open until 2am at a maximum capacity 50%.

A maximum of two persons are allowed per table for bars are nightclubs and four persons per room for karaoke/party rooms.

The announcement was made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan at a 3pm press conference. The first stages of the vaccine bubble will begin from Thursday 29 April.

For gatherings at wedding banquets, company annual dinners and religious events, all participants must be vaccinated. With regard to weddings, the existing capacity of 20 can be increased to 50 for indoor weddings and 100 for outdoor weddings. For shareholder meetings and company annual dinners, the maximum capacity will also be increased to 50 for indoor and 100 for outdoor gatherings.

Vaccinations are available to all Hong Kong residents aged 16 and over for the BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine and 18 and over for the Sinovac vaccine, and can be booked online via this website.