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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department today met representatives of catering businesses to discuss strengthening anti-epidemic measures in catering premises to minimise the COVID-19 transmission risk.

The representatives of restaurants, bars, karaoke establishments and nightclubs discussed how the Government and the sector could further strengthen anti-epidemic measures and implement various targeted measures to address recommendations made by public health expert advisers on critical control points.

The trade was reminded at the meeting to strictly comply with the requirements under relevant anti-epidemic regulations.

To help catering business operators and practitioners understand the anti-epidemic measures for food premises, the department has uploaded related training materials on its website.

For improving ventilation in catering outlets, the department will launch a webpage with a platform for catering outlets to voluntarily report the air change per hour of their ventilation systems and the related air disinfection equipment provided as required at their catering premises for public inspection. An announcement on the website’s launch will be made this week.

At the meeting, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer introduced to the trade a mobile app, which is under development, on exposure risk notification which allows catering businesses to participate according to their needs.

Members of the public can also participate voluntarily and record their movements with the app.

The trade said they will actively collaborate to facilitate the centre’s close contact tracing work. Some bars and karaoke establishments have already called on their customers to fill in electronic health declaration forms to facilitate communication when necessary.

The Government and the trade have also exchanged views on promoting the use of contactless payments in different types of catering outlets.

Additionally, the department called on frontline staff of catering businesses to actively participate in the Targeted Group Testing Scheme. The online registration deadline for the scheme has been extended to October 31.

The testing agency arranged by the department, Prenetics, delivered more than 2,100 specimen bottles at bar areas in Lan Kwai Fong, Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai last weekend.

Among them, about 1,770 specimen bottles were distributed to staff members while 390 were distributed to patrons.

The testing agency will deliver specimen bottles at bar areas in Soho, Kennedy Town and Prince Edward this weekend.

The department will step up inspections at catering outlets and take enforcement actions against offenders and also conduct joint operations with Police.

Since the reopening of bars on September 18, Police have conducted 1,278 inspections and 37 joint operations with the department. Procedures of prosecution were initiated against operators of about 30 premises.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News