Go to main content
Working Group on air change or air purifiers in catering premises holds another meeting in view of latest epidemic developments
     The Secretary for Food and Health stipulated in March last year a requirement on air change or air purifiers to be complied with by dine-in catering premises in the directions in relation to the catering business under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F).  The Working Group established for the smooth implementation of the requirement held an online meeting again yesterday evening (June 27) in view of the cluster of infection cases at a restaurant recently.  The Chairman of the Working Group, expert members and representatives from the government departments were briefed by departments on the respective inspection findings at the premises, and discussed the latest epidemic developments and offered views on anti-epidemic strategies.     

     At the meeting, the Working Group has examined the clusters of infection cases in bars in Central and Sheung Wan and a restaurant in Tuen Mun in June, including the cumulative number of confirmed cases and known information on their air change and air purifiers.  According to the information made available, amongst the seven premises examined at three meetings, it is possible that the ventilation conditions of certain individual cases are unsatisfactory, such as insufficient fresh air supply and air change per hour resulting in not meeting the statutory or epidemic prevention requirements.

     The Working Group has reiterated that all catering premises operators must ensure that their fresh air related ventilation system must be properly switched on, operated, repaired and maintained on an ongoing basis while the premises are opened for business.  Premises operators contravening the directions under Cap. 599F relating to air change per hour have to shoulder criminal liability and their premises are also subject to corresponding measures for reducing the risk of transmission, i.e. on the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, ceasing the sale or supply of food or drink for consumption on the premises from 6pm to 4.59am of the subsequent day and restricting the number of persons per table to no more than two, for a period of 14 days.

     Further to the routine action checklist on ventilation systems and air purifiers uploaded onto the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) thematic webpage (www.fehd.gov.hk/english/licensing/guide_general_reference/Air_Change_Action_Checklist.pdf) in May, the FEHD and the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Department have also produced a short video, and uploaded it onto the FEHD's thematic webpage (www.fehd.gov.hk/english/licensing/guide_general_reference/InfoAirChange.html) to help catering premises operators to master the basic knowledge and operational details relating to ventilating systems and air purifiers.

     The Chairman of the Working Group, Professor Yuen Pak-leung, said "up to June 27, in terms of primary cases, the six bars in Central and Sheung Wan and the restaurant in Tuen Mun examined recently had a cumulative number of infection cases at 368 persons and 41 persons respectively.  All must not lower our guards.  Operators of catering business premises should seriously check the ventilation systems of their premises, to ensure their effective operation, sufficient fresh air supply and even coverage of all zones of the seating areas.  The FEHD and the Working Group 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) (ventilation contractor)."

     The Working Group reiterates its calls for the catering sector, other sectors and members of the public to continue to comply with the relevant regulations on prevention and control of diseases, including the prevailing requirements on ventilation and air change in the relevant premises and routinely keeping such systems in good operation, in a concerted and persistent manner, so as to strengthen the protection of personal and public health.  In addition, as vaccination is a very crucial part of the local anti-epidemic strategy, the Working Group also encourages the public who have not yet received vaccination to get vaccinated as early as possible for better protection of their own health as well as that of the public.
Ends/Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Issued at HKT 21:45
Today's Press Releases