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FEHD takes stringent enforcement actions against bars/pubs and other catering premises in defiance of anti-epidemic regulations
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     A spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today (June 18) 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 in defiance of the anti-epidemic regulations, through its respective inspections and joint operations yesterday (June 17) till small hours today. The joint operations by the two departments covered Central and Western District, Southern District, Yau Tsim District, Tsuen Wan District, Tuen Mun District and Sai Kung District. 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 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 latest requirement on rapid antigen test (RAT) by customers, with a view to minimising the transmission risk in the community.

     The spokesman said, "All sectors of the community should not lower their guard, as the risk of rebound in the epidemic situation remains. The FEHD urges premises operators not to defy the law."

     The FEHD and the Police yesterday inspected a total of 515 catering premises (including 58 bars/pubs) and 153 other premises. The enforcement departments initiated procedures on prosecution against operators of 10 bars/pubs and 10 other catering premises suspected of breaching the requirements under the directions.

     The FEHD and the Police also required the premises to take corresponding measures for reducing the risk of transmission. 2 bars/pubs and 10 other catering 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 restrict the number of persons per table to no more than two for a period of three, seven or 14 days; while 8 bars/pubs found with irregularities had to, on the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, close for 7 day or 14 days.

     In addition, the enforcement departments also issued fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to 5 customers suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirement, 20 staff suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirement, 20 customers suspected of breaching the cap on the number of persons per table, and 3 customers did not meet the Vaccine Pass Requirement and Scanning of "LeaveHomeSafe" in bars/pubs. The enforcement departments also issued FPNs to 18 customers suspected of breaching the requirement of scanning "LeaveHomeSafe" venue QR code and 11 staff suspected of breaching the relevant RAT requirements in other catering premises.

     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 a 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.

     ‚ÄčTo 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.
 
Ends/Saturday, June 18, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:45
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