Health secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee said that eateries can start to offer dine-in service later into the night until 10pm with four people allowed per table, compared to the current cut-off time of 6pm and two people cap for each table.

Businesses that were forced to close months ago – gyms, sports venues, theme parks, cinemas, beauty and massage parlors and game centers – would also be allowed to reopen this Thursday.

Chan said those establishments will have to comply with two additional infection control measures.

All staff of such premises will have to undergo virus testing every fortnight, and patrons will have to use the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app or provide their personal information with their records kept for 31 days.

“Restaurants that failed to comply with the relevant measures will be asked to shorten their dine-in hours to 6pm with only 2 people allowed per table for 3, 7 or 14 days depending on the situation of the premises,” said Chan.

Despite the relaxation of dine-in measures, the 2 person cap on public gatherings will be extended to March 3, along with the mask law.

Bathhouses, party rooms, nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises and swimming pools will also remain closed.

Chan also said the government will increase the supply of COVID-19 specimen collection packs from 40,000 to over 50,000 daily, to address the recent increased demand for Covid tests.

“The testing quota for community testing centers will also increase to more than 26,000, along with providing more staff to help in the centers,” Chan added.