Virtual meetings are fast becoming the norm after months of the Covid-19 pandemic forced schools, companies and governments around the world to get on with business via Zoom or other online tools. Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is lagging behind, though. And when it is finally ready to embrace the trend, questions are bound to arise. We are not just talking about whether lawmakers and officials will become even less focused when they switch over to Zoom meetings. Some have, in the past, been seen dosing off, doing online shopping, playing video games or browsing TV drama guides during open meetings. One can only imagine the situation if they were allowed to hide behind a computer screen. Guidelines and protocols are therefore essential. Sensibly, online meetings will initially be confined to those that do not involve the exercise of statutory powers. Previous problems such as a lack of quorum may no longer be an issue when lawmakers can attend meetings from their home or office. Straightforward as it sounds, there are still issues to address. Should the rules of procedure be amended to cater for such meetings? Would members still enjoy legal privileges as they do under the existing law? Are officials tech-savvy enough to master Zoom functions such as sharing presentations on screen? It will also be interesting to see if allies can privately share views via the chat room. And perhaps the chairperson may be empowered to mute unruly members of a panel. Hong Kong’s legislature could introduce online meetings as early as Monday The British parliament has issued guidance on online meetings. From choosing suitable backgrounds to leaving the sessions, there is no shortage of advice to ensure proceedings can be held in an efficient and dignified manner. No less important is security. In May, a South African parliamentary Zoom session was interrupted by a display of pornography and racial slurs while being broadcast live. Given that Legco has, in recent years, attracted rowdy protests both inside and outside its chamber and that it is continuing its operation in a Beijing-endorsed extended term without opposition members, it would not be surprising if its online meetings become targets of politically motivated hacks. The need for Legco and the government to embrace the new normal is long overdue. It is fortunate that the city has survived several waves of the pandemic without a complete lockdown. But with Covid-19 still very much prevalent, the need for officials and lawmakers to make wider use of Zoom or similar technologies cannot be ruled out. Legco needs to work closely with the government to show an ability to adapt to the situation.