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After nearly three years of enforcing a mask mandate, Hong Kong has finally announced it will end it.

The city was so serious about the mandate that it fined people more than $1,000 for not wearing them in public spaces.

The rule was first enforced on 15 July 2020 but back then it was only applicable to public transport. Only two weeks later it was expanded to all indoor and outdoor areas.

Now, 959 days after the rule was imposed it will be lifted on Wednesday. This was announced by John Lee, the city’s leader during a news briefing.

“We are now returning to normalcy. I’m looking forward to seeing a smile on everyone’s face now.”

The city is hoping to lure back business travellers and tourists.

During the pandemic, Hong Kong was known for its very strict policies related to the Coronavirus. For most of the pandemic, visitors were required to isolate in specially appointed hotels for 21 days. No visitors were allowed and those isolating were required to keep their windows locked shut.

Although most countries across the world have dropped their mask mandates, the World Health Organisation (WHO) still advises health workers to wear masks.

According to Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead of WHO’s Covid response warned that the virus was “circulating pretty much unchecked around the world at the moment”.

Image credit: Bloomberg

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