Guidelines on Prevention of Infectious Diseases (including SARS) for Organizers of Public Functions

When planning for a public function, the Department of Health requests the organizer to follow the guidelines below to prevent any new outbreak of SARS and other infectious diseases:


  • The organizer should consult the venue manager to ensure that the space and ventilation of the venue is appropriate and sufficient for the nature and expected attendance of the public function.
  • If the venue is mechanically ventilated, ensure proper maintenance and cleansing of the ventilation system as well as frequent air exchange.
Environmental hygiene
  • Disinfect the venue before and after the function - Clean and disinfect the venue using a diluted solution of household bleach (1 part bleach mixed with 99 parts of water). Rinse with water. This disinfection procedure should be undertaken at least once immediately before commencement of the function and as soon as practicable after the function.
  • Maintain cleanliness of the venue during the function. Clean the venue and its facilities using a 1:99 diluted household bleach solution at regular intervals as appropriate for the function. If the environment and facilities become dirty, the frequency of cleaning must be stepped up.
  • Ensure that sanitary facilities, for example hand sanitizer with 65-95% alcohol are available in sufficient quantity and that such facilities are operating properly.
  • Provide liquid soap, disposable towels and/or hand dryers in toilets.
  • Ensure that rubbish bins are available in sufficient quantity and are emptied as frequently as necessary.
  • If any article or surface is contaminated with vomit, phlegm, blood or other bodily secretions, it should be cleaned with a stronger diluted solution of household bleach (1 part bleach mixed with 49 parts of water), rinsed with water and then wiped dry.
  • Smoking should be strictly prohibited to minimize fire hazards and environmental pollution.
Food hygiene
  • Serve food in an area equipped with adequate hygiene facilities, for example that for washing hands.
  • Use clean tongs, scoops, forks, spoons, spatulas, or other suitable utensils to handle and serve food.
  • Consider serving individually packaged food.
  • All food, beverages and tableware must be stored and covered properly.
  • Instruct staff to cover food properly during delivery.
  • Staff should wear masks and disposable gloves as far as possible when handling food.
  • Remind participants to wash hands before eating and dispose of rubbish properly.
  • To avoid overcrowding:
    • Venue operators and organizers should strictly observe the capacity specifications allowed for the venue.
    • Implement crowd control measures.
Staff Health
  • Pay attention to the health conditions of your staff. Staff members who are sick should seek medical treatment and stay away from work to prevent spreading the disease.
  • Staff with respiratory symptoms, for example cough and runny nose should wear a mask at work.
Law enforcement
  • The Fixed Penalty (Public Cleanliness Offences) Ordinance, passed by the Legislative Council in July 2001, covers offences including littering, spitting, unauthorised display of bills or posters, and dog fouling in public places. Any person in breach of the provisions will be liable to a fixed penalty of $1,500.
  • Inform participants of the importance of personal hygiene and possible legal consequences of breaching the hygiene laws. The information can be delivered through messages printed on the tickets, public announcements and/or display of signs and posters.
Control of SARS
  • Advise people who are sick e.g. temperature > 37.5oC, or respiratory symptoms such as cough and runny nose not to attend the function.
  • Should unusual infectious diseases be suspected, report to and cooperate fully with the Department of Health in the investigation and control procedures.
Wish you every success!

Guidelines on Prevention of Infectious Diseases (including SARS) for Participants of Public Functions

When attending a public function, the Department of Health advises the public to pay attention to the following points to protect themselves against infectious diseases including SARS:

Before the function
  • If you don't feel well, especially when you have a fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, do not attend the function. Consult a doctor promptly.
  • Always keep your hands clean. Wash hands after touching public objects or facilities.
  • Bring a handkerchief or a packet of tissues with you.
During the function:
  • Maintain good personal hygiene. Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and wash your hands immediately afterwards to avoid spreading germs via respiratory droplets.
  • Wash hands before touching your eyes, mouth or nose, before meals and after going to the toilet.
  • Wash hands with liquid soap, and then dry with a disposable towel or a hand drier.
  • If hand washing facilities are not available, rub hands with a 65-95% alcohol solution to disinfect hands.
  • Do not spit or litter. Use a tissue to hold your spit and discard it into a bin with a lid. Always put rubbish in a bin. Spitting or littering in public is an offence and the offender is liable to a fixed penalty of $1,500.
  • Do not smoke.
After the function:
  • Keep your hands clean.
  • Take a shower or bath and wash hair when you return home to remove any dirt and germs that you might have come across.

Wish you a joyful and fantastic gathering!

9 September 2003