Header image courtesy of Hong Kong Sevens (via Facebook)
Following a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament is finally returning this year! Scheduled for 4 to 6 November, it is set to be the city’s first major international sports event to take place since the pandemic began. In 2019, it attracted over 120,000 spectators with about 40 overseas rugby teams participating.
Hong Kong Sevens’ return comes after the Hong Kong Rugby Union received the green light from the government to move ahead with the event. Given the city’s strict social distancing measures and quarantine rules, the Hong Kong government is mulling over the adoption of a similar approach to Tokyo and Beijing’s Olympic-style “closed-loop” system. Players will only be allowed to move between the airport, hotel, and sports venue.
Hong Kong’s landmark sports event usually sees tens of thousands of fans packing the stadium, but this year is expected to be different. Overseas spectators who are willing to travel to Hong Kong will still have to undergo quarantine. The government is also considering either shortening the quarantine time to five days or allowing conditional quarantine-free travel by November—just in time for the Hong Kong Sevens.
South China Morning Post reported that organisers will cap ground capacity at 85 percent. According to Yeung Tak-keung, the commissioner for sports, visitors will be required to wear masks when not drinking. It is likely that eating will not be allowed during the games to minimise mask-off activities. Instead, visitors can opt to dine at “eating outlets.”
In a statement, organisers confirmed that they are consulting with the government to ensure compliance with Covid-19 measures. With just three months to go, further details including ticketing information will be announced soon, so stay tuned for updates.