Hong Kong’s New “Vaccine Bubble” Makes POS Restaurant Table Management a Must

What are HK's new restaurant 'zones'? How can your restaurant stay open for longer? Clear graphics within


Relief for Hong Kong’s Bars and Nightclubs

Hong Kong’s bars and nightclubs (without a food license) have been shut since last November and finally can experience some level of relief. On Thursday, April 29th, the Hong Kong government announced new, relaxed social-distancing rules as part of what is called the ‘Vaccine Bubble’. These new rules are designed to alleviate some of the pressure bars, nightclubs and restaurants have been facing. 


Under the new Vaccine Bubble scheme, bars and nightclubs will be allowed to reopen at half capacity until 2am, with tables only able to seat a maximum of 2 people. However, this only applies to bars and nightclubs whose staff have received at least one dose of the vaccination. The same rule applies to customers. Customers who have downloaded the eHealth app can quickly show proof of their vaccination status and gain entrance to nightclubs and bars.


The New Social-Distancing Rules for Bars and Nightclubs

Under the new social distancing rules, the following situation is permitted:


- 5:00am – 01:59am

- Max of 2 people per table

- Capacity limit of premises 50%

- Staff do not need to be tested

- Staff must have first dose of vaccine

- Customers must use Leave Home Safe app 

- Customers must have first dose of vaccine 


Further relief for Hong Kong’s Restaurants

Under the new Vaccine Bubble scheme, restaurants will be able to operate under 4 different conditions. In some instances, restaurants will even be able to split their premises into 2 or 3 zones depending on which rules are being followed in each. For maximum benefit, restaurant patrons will need to use the eHealth app to prove vaccination status and the Leave Home Safe app to register their dining location while restaurant staff will need to be vaccinated, too. 


Though this is certainly a positive for Hong Kong’s F&B scene, the new rules can be a bit complicated to understand, and contain multiple levels of permissions based on customers' and staff's vaccination records. We’ll outline everything below:


The New Social-Distancing Rules for Restaurants

Under the new social distancing rules, the following 4 situations (zones) are permitted:


Zone A) 

- 5:00am – 5:59pm 

- Max of 2 people per table

- Capacity limit of premises 50%

- Max number of people per banquet: 20

- No vaccinations from staff or customers necessary, no use of any app necessary


Zone B)

- 5:00am – 9:59pm

- Max of 4 people per table

- Capacity limit of premises 50%

- Max number of people per banquet: 20

- Staff must be tested for COVID-19 every 2 weeks

- Customers must use Leave Home Safe app or provided details form

- No vaccinations from staff or customers necessary 


Zone C)

- 5:00am – 11:59pm

- Max of 6 people per table

- Capacity limit of premises 50%

- Max number of people per banquet: 20

- Staff do not need to be tested

- Staff must have first dose of vaccine

- Customers must use Leave Home Safe app 

- No vaccinations from customers necessary 

- May add separate Zone B area in restaurant


Zone D)

- 5:00am – 01:59pm

- Max of 8 people per table

- Capacity limit of premises 75%

- Max number of people per banquet: 100

- Staff do not need to be tested

- Staff must have both doses of vaccine and completed 2-week waiting period after

- Customers must use Leave Home Safe app 

- Customers must have first dose of vaccine 

- May add separate Zone C and Zone B in restaurant


Why Table Management is a Must For Restaurants

Table management provides restaurants with an easy way to separate tables into zones so that wait staff are able to easily distinguish between each zone. In regular use, zones can represent different levels of a restaurant, a bar area vs a dining area and more. However, in Hong Kong's current case, restaurants will also be able to change the table layout on their POS system to represent the various Vaccine Bubble zones in their restaurants. For example, businesses can split their restaurants into zones B, C and D so that they can seat customers accordingly and have waiters seat and serve customers according to the rules of those zones. Wait staff would also be able to shut down zones and stop serving each zone after their individual cut-off times. 


Since each zone can be color coded, or given its own layout, the table management system built-in to your POS and mPOS should offer lots of flexibility that makes it easier to manage and understand the new situation. 


While having multiple zones in your restaurant may be confusing and frustrating, having a great table management system will definitely make the process far more painless for yourself and for your staff.