FEHD and Police inspected 1,322 bars/pubs and 9,163 catering premises in past 17 days, 356 Fixed Penalty Notices issued

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27th June 2022 – (Hong Kong) A 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, from June 10 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 said, “The Government announced today the gazettal of extension of existing social distancing measures in accordance with the public health emergency regulations under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance, which will be effective till 13th July. Parties concerned are reminded 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., with a view to minimising the transmission risk in the community.”

The spokesman reminded that all catering premises and bars/pubs must implement the two requirements on “LeaveHomeSafe” (LHS) and Vaccine Pass:
 (1) dine-in customers must scan the venue QR code using the LHS mobile app on their mobile phones/other mobile devices before entering the premises; and
 (2) all persons entering the premises must comply with the vaccination requirements applicable under the Vaccine Pass, except under exempted scenarios.

Operators of catering premises and relevant scheduled premises are required to use the latest version of “QR Code Verification Scanner” mobile app to scan the QR code of a patron’s vaccination record, medical exemption certificate or recovery record on the LHS mobile app or displayed through other means (such as “eHealth”, “iAMSmart”, on paper or in photo) to ensure compliance with the active checking requirements, and must take all reasonable steps to ensure that only customers who fulfil the Vaccine Pass requirement are allowed to enter the premises.

 The spokesman reiterated that the requirement on RAT result has already come into effect. All staff involved in the operation of the catering premises must undergo a RAT once every three days and obtain a negative result before entering the premises for work. They are required to keep on their mobile phones a photo of the RAT kit showing a negative test result (marked on the RAT kits with the name of the staff and the date of taking the test) obtained on the relevant work day or on any of the two immediately preceding days for checking by the catering premises operators when reporting to work and for inspection by authorised officers upon request.

 Before a patron enters a bar/pub, club/nightclub or bar/pub zone of catering premises, he/she must present photo of a negative RAT result (marked on the RAT testing kit his/her name as well as the date and time of taking the test) obtained within 24 hours before entry. The photo of the testing kit should be saved in the patron’s mobile phone for checking by the operators before entry, and for inspection by authorised officers upon request. The requirement is not applicable to customers not entering the bar/pub zone in catering premises.

 Other requirements and restrictions on catering premises and bars/pubs remain in force, for example, while away from the table, all customers must not consume food or drink, and must wear a mask. The maximum number of persons per table at bars/pubs (i.e. exclusively or mainly used for the sale or supply of intoxicating liquors for consumption in the premises) is four while the maximum number of persons per table at other catering premises is eight, etc. Live performance and dancing activity are not allowed in catering premises and bars/pubs.

 The enforcement figures of the FEHD and the Police for the past 17 days are as follows:

 InspectionsProsecution actions initiated against operator of premisesFixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued to patrons or staff of the premises
Bars/pubs1,32258278 (including 35 staff and seven customers suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirement)
Other catering premises9,1633878 (including 15 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, seven or 14 days or closure of the premises for seven or 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 days1013
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for seven days66
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for 14 days519
Closure of the premises for seven days9Not applicable
Closure of the premises for 14 days27Not 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).

 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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