Deep cleaning, face masks, services suspension – HK banks respond to coronavirus

Maria Nikolova

Banks operating in Hong Kong have closed temporarily some of their branches, with those remaining operational implementing enhanced sanitization measures.

More than 15 banks, such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and China CITIC, have announced they are making adjustments to their Hong Kong operations in response to the new coronavirus.

Standard Chartered Hong Kong said that, in view of the latest developments of the novel coronavirus with consideration to ensuring the health and safety of clients and employees and maintaining the availability of its banking services, it would be suspending banking services at 18 of its branches with effect from 3 February 2020 (Monday). The bank has enhanced its cleaning and hygiene measures including deep cleaning and regular sanitisation of common areas and frequently touched facilities such as door handles and handrails. The bank has also reminded all employees to maintain personal hygiene and wear face masks.

China CITIC Bank International Limited announced temporary service suspension at 9 branches from 3 February 2020 until further notice as a means to minimize the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus in the community and safeguarding the safety of customers and staff.

Due to the increasing spread and potential outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, OCBC Wing Hang Bank announced three of its branches will be temporarily closed from 3 February 2020 until further notice as a step-up measure to protect customers and staff. In addition, face masks are distributed to all frontline staff and to other support staff where necessary. Hand sanitisers are placed in offices and branches. Staff and customers are required to wear surgical face masks at meetings and maintain personal hygiene especially washing hands frequently. Cleaning regime in common areas such as the branch lobbies, lifts, corridors and toilets have been stepped up.

HSBC announced that 24 service outlets will be suspended temporarily from Monday, 3 February 2020 until further notice. Operation hours and services available at all other outlets will remain unchanged. This is a precautionary measure for contingency purposes to safeguard the health and safety of employees and customers in light of the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation in Hong Kong, while balancing the need to ensure normal banking services to the community, the bank explained.

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited notified its customers and the general public that in order to prevent and counter the spread of the novel infectious disease in the community, 49 branches will suspend services from 1 February (Saturday) until further notice. Except for these branches, more than 140 BOCHK branches across the city will maintain normal services.

Detailed information about the latest developments can be found on the banks’ websites or on the dedicated page of the Hong Kong Association of Banks.

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