FEHD takes stringent enforcement actions relating to anti-epidemic regulations over the past four days


     A spokesman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said today (June 6) that the FEHD continued to step up its inspections territory-wide and conducted joint operations with the Police in a number of districts over the past four days, so as to take enforcement actions against operators, staff and customers of bars/pubs, other catering premises and other premises in defiance of the anti-epidemic regulations. The spokesman reiterated that there have been multiple infection cases in certain bars/pubs and other catering premises, enforcement departments will proactively take enforcement actions on an ongoing basis. The spokesman reminded parties concerned again 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 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 in the past four days (June 2 to 5) inspected a total of 133 catering premises (including 15 bars/pubs) and 27 other premises during the joint operations, and the FEHD on its own inspected a total of 1890 catering premises (including 70 bars/pubs) and 518 other premises in all districts. The FEHD initiated procedures on prosecution against operators of 10 catering premises in Central and Western District, Mong Kok, Wong Tai Sin, North District and Sai Kung and six bars/pubs in Central and Western District and Mong Kok suspected of breaching the requirements under the directions. Also, pursuant to the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X), the FEHD initiated procedures on prosecution against one restaurant operator suspected for operating food business in places outside the approved areas delineated on the plan under the licence.

     The FEHD also required the premises to take corresponding measures for reducing the risk of transmission. Four 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 two bars/pubs found with irregularities had to, on the subsequent day of being identified of the irregularities by the enforcement officers, close for seven days.

     In addition, the FEHD also issued fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to 11 persons in a catering premises and six persons in a bar in Central suspected of breaching the group gathering requirement, and two customers suspected of breaching the requirement of scanning “LeaveHomeSafe” venue QR code and to one staff suspected of breaching the Vaccine Pass requirement in other catering premises. The Police also took enforcement actions during the joint operations.

     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).

     Any licensee who carries on food business outside the licensed area is liable to be prosecuted for breaching section 34C of the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X) and, upon conviction, to a maximum fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for three months.

     In addition, over the last long weekend, the FEHD, in collaboration with several government departments, conducted joint operations and carried out publicity and educational work at various public places where people, including domestic helpers, congregate during weekend and public holidays. The FEHD appealed to them to raise awareness of epidemic prevention and comply with the various anti-epidemic regulations and restrictions, stepped up patrols to combat unlicensed hawking activities, and arranged for cleaning service contractors to strengthen the street cleaning services at the relevant spots.

     From January 1 this year to yesterday, a total of 180 FPNs were issued to persons who breached public cleanliness offences or caused obstruction in public places, nine persons were arrested and prosecuted for illegal hawking in public places, 162 seizures of hawker abandoned articles, including cooked food, were effected, and three prosecutions were also taken against the operators of restaurants for breaching the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X). Domestic helpers have also been reminded by other government departments to comply with the regulations on mask wearing and the prohibition of gatherings in public places.

     To minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, 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.