As case numbers stabilized to under 10 a day by the time autumn arrived, a sense of uneasy normalcy had returned to the city. Enjoying some exercise at your local park is possible with a maximum of 3 buddies joining.
On this day, 8 cases were reported, of which 7 were imported.
With borders remaining shut, tourist services continue to be affected but as case numbers remained low, locals were out in action exploring the city and staycationing in luxury hotels. The H series of tourism bus resumed operations on weekends and public holidays in October.
Social distancing restrictions were relaxed in late October with 4 allowed per table at bars and 6 per table at restaurants, while the closure time was moved 2 more hours to 2am. Seating capacity would be capped at 75%. At this luxury hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, the plastic barriers between tables remained, although seats are still packed close to each other.
It is not unusual to see signs like these reminder customers to wear masks in shopping malls, restaurants, and other public spaces. We were getting used to having our temperature taken to enter a shop or restaurant, and it was rare to see an unmasked person on the street.
Case numbers spiked again after November 20 as a dance group cluster emerged involving multiple venues. This would be the single largest cluster so far in the pandemic, far exceeding the bar and band clusters a few months earlier.
On November 24, the government announced bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues would close yet again for the third time this year.
With a major uptick in cases and the 4th wave well under way, the government started promoting the "LeaveHomeSafe" app, where users scan QR codes at places they visit to track their whereabouts. If a subsequently confirmed COVID patient visited the same place as you at around the same time, a notification will be sent through the app.
On November 30, the government further tightened social distancing restrictions, forcing restaurants to close at 10pm and allowing only 2 per table. Most civil servants would resume working from home.
82 cases were reported. In addition to 32 cases related to the dance group, 3 came from a construction site in Tseung Kwan O. With public transport vehicles displaying special treatment of surfaces to prevent disease spread, this luxury shopping mall's special coating caught my attention.
At the popular waterfront promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui, there were reminders to maintain social distancing.
The travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was also postponed.
From December 2, the gathering limit was tightened from 4 people to 2 as infections continued to hover around high levels.
While QR codes could be seen in many places, including throughout the shopping mall and even out here at a park, I haven't seen anyone actively go up to it to scan their phones.
Across the city, pharmacies that used to cater to the tourist crowd found it hard to survive as border restrictions persisted.
The QR code even made it to the Christmas decorations at the Landmark shopping mall.
Yet, the domestic helpers were out in groups enjoying their day off a block away. It doesn't seem there is any effective social distancing here, and enforcement is nowhere to be found.