Zhang Wei/China News Service/Getty Images
Hong Kong is once again easing pandemic-era travel rules, making it easier to visit as a tourist.
Starting Wednesday, the city will eliminate its “amber code” rule, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, which previously banned international tourists from entering places like restaurants and bars for three days after their arrival. Travelers will still be required to undergo a series of tests.
“The new arrangements marks the opening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong,” Dr. Pang Yiu-kai, the chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said in a statement. “Upon fulfilling the vaccination and COVID-19 test requirements, visitors can now enjoy Hong Kong’s full range of diverse and exciting experiences, including our culinary offerings. We expect that the new measures will stimulate travellers interests in visiting Hong Kong.”
Hong Kong first started easing restrictions in September, dropping a mandatory hotel quarantine and implementing a “0+3” policy in which travelers could go outside but were restricted from certain places like bars and restaurants. Then in November, the city started allowing visitors in tour groups to enter certain tourist attractions like theme parks, museums, and temples, as well as eat in “partitioned areas” in designated restaurants.
Now, travelers will be allowed to enter previously-restricted venues like bars, restaurants, nightclubs, fitness centers, and more.
The city will also eliminate the need to scan a government health app to enter public venues, but Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau said a vaccine pass will still be required to enter certain venues like restaurants, CNN reported.
Travelers will also still be required to undergo a rapid antigen test 24 hours before they board a flight, undergo a PCR test on arrival and again on day 2, and then undergo rapid antigen tests each day for five days.
The decision to make it easier to visit comes as mainland China has started to relax its very strict pandemic-era rules, eliminating mandatory testing before many public activities and deactivating a state-mandated app used to track travel histories, Reuters reported. This week, China’s ambassador to the United States said he expects restrictions will be further relaxed soon and international travel will become easier.
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