The WHO has cautioned that it could take weeks to discover if Omicron is more transmissible, and whether it causes more severe disease – as well as how effective current treatments and vaccines are against it.
The steamy metropolis and the world's most-visited city before the pandemic will take some time to get back to its pulsating, intoxicating old self, industry experts say.
The rules remain strict, with just five fully vaccinated people allowed to gather outdoors for up to an hour, while tougher rules are in place for virus hotspots.
The relaxed SOPs will apply from tomorrow onwards to those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
For states in Phase One and Two, a maximum of 50 worshippers are allowed while for states in Phase Three, attendance will depend on the size of the premises.