80 bars/pubs and 621 other catering premises inspected by FEHD and police yesterday, 7 prosecutions initiated

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25th June 2022 – (Hong Kong) The spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today that the FEHD and the Police continued to take stringent enforcement actions territory-wide against premises operators, staff and customers in bars/pubs, other catering premises and certain other premises that defy the anti-epidemic regulations, through its respective inspections and joint operations, yesterday till small hours today. The spokesman reiterated that there have been signs of epidemic rebound and multiple infection cases in certain bars/pubs and other catering premises recently, and it may be possible that among them, some operators and customers might not have complied with epidemic prevention regulations and restrictions. Enforcement departments will proactively take stringent enforcement actions on an ongoing basis. The Government urges premises operators and the public not to defy the law.

 The spokesman reminded parties concerned to remain vigilant and strictly comply with the requirements and directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) (the Regulation), the Prevention and Control of Disease (Vaccine Pass) Regulation (Cap. 599L) etc., including the requirement on rapid antigen test (RAT) by staff of catering premises and customers of relevant premises, with a view to minimising the transmission risk in the community.

 The enforcement figures of the FEHD and the Police yesterday are as follows:

 InspectionsProsecution actions initiated against operator of premisesFixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued to patrons or staff of the premises
Bars/pubs80315 (including one customer suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirement)
Other catering premises621411 (including four staff suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirement)

Moreover, the FEHD and the Police also required the premises to take corresponding measures for reducing the risk of transmission. Premises found with irregularities had to, on the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, cease selling or supplying food or drink for consumption on the premises from 6pm to 4.59am of the subsequent day, and allow no more than two persons to be seated together at one table, for a period of three or 14 days or closure of the premises for 14 days. The details of the case numbers are as follows:

To take corresponding measures for reducing the risk of transmission or closure of premisesBars/pubsOther catering premises
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for three days01
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for seven days00
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for 14 days03
Closure of the premises for seven days0Not applicable
Closure of the premises for 14 days3Not applicable

If a person responsible for carrying on a catering business contravenes the Regulation or the requirements and directions of the Vaccine Pass, he or she is liable to be prosecuted and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. Persons who are present at catering premises or other specified premises must comply with directions applicable to them. Non-compliance with the relevant directions is an offence and offenders are subject to a maximum fine of $10,000, or the liability may be discharged by paying a fixed penalty of $5,000. In addition, for customers in breach of the requirement on the maximum number of persons per table within catering premises, they are liable to a fixed penalty of $5,000 for violating the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G). For persons not wearing a mask when they are not eating or drinking at a table therein, they are liable to a fixed penalty of $5,000 for contravening the Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap. 599I).

 The spokesman added that customers who fail to produce a negative RAT result are subject to be issued with an FPN. For any omission of due diligence checks on the negative RAT results of customers, operators of the bars/pubs will be held criminally liable and required to adopt corresponding measures to reduce the risk of transmission starting from the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, which is to close the premises for 14 days.

In addition, staff who fail to meet the RAT record checking requirement are also subject to be issued with an FPN. Operators of the premises will be held criminally liable for failing to ensure staff to meet the RAT record checking requirement. For catering premises, they are required on the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, cease selling or supplying food or drink for consumption on the premises from 6pm to 4.59am of the subsequent day, and allow no more than two persons to be seated together at one table for 14 days. For bars/pubs, they are required to adopt corresponding measures to reduce the risk of transmission starting from the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, which is to close the premises for 14 days.

To guard against epidemic outbreaks, the spokesman strongly appealed to all sectors of the community to stay vigilant and comply with the relevant regulations on prevention and control of disease in a concerted and persistent manner. The FEHD has strengthened its publicity efforts and will continue to take stringent enforcement actions. All sectors are reminded to exercise self-discipline and co-operate to fight the virus together. 

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