FEHD reminds operators of bars/pubs and other catering businesses to continue to comply with anti-epidemic regulations, 2,727 premises inspected in last 2 weeks

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24th June 2022 – (Hong Kong)  A spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today that the FEHD and the Police continued with their inspections 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. 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 customers, with a view to minimising the transmission risk in the community.

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.

 On the other hand, 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.

The spokesman reminded that, photos of the RAT kit shown by staff of catering premises and patrons of relevant premises must show clearly the negative test result, and patron/staff’s name and the date of taking the RAT must be also indicated on the RAT kit. As regards customers of relevant premises, the time of taking the RAE must also be indicated on the RAT kit.

In addition, catering premises operators must also properly switch on, operate, maintain and repair its fresh air supply related ventilating system when the premises is opened for business. The FEHD and the Working Group on Air Change in Catering Premises have, on numerous occasions, given advice and reminders, and provided technical guidance. If necessary, catering premises operators should seek assistance from professionals, such as a registered specialist contractor (ventilation works category). It is incumbent on the trade and the public to exercise self-discipline. Also, the enforcement departments will take stringent enforcement actions.

The spokesman reminded that 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.

 Over the past 14 days, the enforcement figures of the FEHD and the Police are as follows:

 InspectionsProsecution actions initiated against operator of premisesFixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued to patrons or staff of the premises
Bars/pubs1,15451176
Other catering premises1,5733467

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 premises
Bars/pubsOther catering premises
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for three days1012 
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for seven days6 6
No evening dine-in and restricting to two persons per table for 14 days516 
Closure of the premises for seven days9Not applicable
Closure of the premises for 14 days20Not 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 premises 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 or the arrival of the sixth wave, 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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