Hong Kong will ease some social distancing measures later this week, allowing beauty salons and cinemas to reopen and relaxing an evening dine-in ban, as daily coronavirus infections in the city dwindled.
Restaurants now banned from providing dine-in services after 6pm will be allowed to serve customers until 9pm starting on Friday.
Businesses such as cinemas, beauty salons and some outdoor sports venues will be allowed to reopen.
Also, residents will no longer be required to wear masks when exercising outdoors or while in country parks.
“Under the new normal, it is not possible for us to wait until there are no more local cases before relaxing the social distancing measures,” Sophia Chan, Hong Kong’s health minister, said in a news conference on Tuesday.
The semi-autonomous southern Chinese city had seen a surge in coronavirus infections in July, leading the government to implement its toughest social distancing measures yet, which included limiting public gatherings to two people.
Since then infections have gradually dwindled, with the city reporting just nine infections as of Monday, the first time in more than a month that cases have fallen to single-digits.
Hong Kong has recorded 4,692 infections, with 77 deaths.
Hong Kong will implement voluntary, universal community testing for up to two weeks from 1 September to detect asymptomatic patients.