Hong Kong to mandate diners use contact tracing app from Dec 9

Diners sitting between divider panels carrying QR codes for Hong Kong's LeaveHomeSafe tracing app, on Nov 9, 2021.
Diners sitting between divider panels carrying QR codes for Hong Kong's LeaveHomeSafe tracing app, on Nov 9, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong will require all diners to use the government's Covid-19 contact tracing app from Dec 9, bolstering anti-virus measures as it works to reopen the border with mainland China.

The LeaveHomeSafe app will be required at establishments including restaurants, bars, sports centres and entertainment venues, according to a statement Tuesday evening (Nov 23).

Some venues are currently allowed to let diners fill out their contact information on handwritten forms instead of checking in with the app.

The limited usage of LeaveHomeSafe has been a key sticking point during negotiations between Hong Kong and mainland officials over resuming quarantine-free travel between the two sides, a key step to restoring economically crucial ties.

Other Covid measures - including limits on the size of group gatherings and mask-wearing requirements - will be extended for two weeks, until Dec 8.

Hong Kong's border with mainland China won't fully reopen before a Dec 19 vote on the local legislature, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday, despite being a key priority for the city's government.

Hong Kong and China are two of the world's last Covid Zero holdouts, tightening measures to eradicate any local spread of the virus even as places around the globe pivot to living with Covid as endemic.

"We will closely liaise with the relevant trades in the coming two weeks to ensure the smooth implementation of the relevant measures," a Hong Kong government spokesperson said.

"We appeal to the public to co-operate and comply with the relevant requirements in order to further enhance the anti-epidemic capacity of Hong Kong."