18 February 2021
To: Licensees/Persons-in-charge of food premises
Reminder on Strict Adherence to Prevention and Control of Disease
(Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F)
by Food Business Operators and Food Handlers
The Government has gazetted on 17 February 2021 directions and specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) to relax social distancing measures in a gradual and orderly manner. The directions and specifications began to take effect from 0.00 am on 18 February 2021 and will last for a period of 14 days till 3 March 2021 (the specified period). Please refer to Annex I for details.
Apart from continual compliance with all the requirements and restrictions in force, you are requested to pay special attention to the new requirements and restrictions listed below.
 Including putting up at the entrance or a conspicuous location of the premises a poster containing the “LeaveHomeSafe” venue QR code; ensuring that there is a distance of at least 1.5 metres or some form of partition which could serve as an effective buffer between tables; ensuring that a person must wear a mask at any time within the premises, except when the person is consuming food or drink at a table; performing body temperature screening before a person is allowed to enter the premises and providing hand sanitisers, etc.
Provided that the following two newly added measures are adopted, catering premises may extend their dine-in service to 9.59 pm and allow no more than 4 persons to be seated together at one table (hereafter referred to as “the new system”):
(1) To ensure that customers scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" venue QR code or register their names, contact numbers and the dates and times of their visits before they are allowed to enter the premises, with such records in written or electronic forms to be kept for 31 days; and
(2) To arrange all staff involved in the operation of the premises to undergo a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 every 14 days starting from 11 February 2021 and ensure that they obtain the result of the test by SMS prior to 25 February 2021 and before the end of every subsequent period of 14 days, and that they keep record of every SMS notification containing the test result for 31 days.
If the above measures are not adopted, catering premises have to take corresponding measures to reduce the risk of transmission (no dine-in service from 6.00 pm to 4.59 am of the subsequent day and allowing no more than 2 persons to be seated together at one table) (hereafter referred to as “the old system”). Please refer to Annex II for details. Catering premises which adopt the measures listed in Annex II must, during the applicable period of such measures, display a notice in the specified formats (Annexes III and IV) around the clock at the entrance of the premises.
If catering premises choose not to adopt the two measures mentioned above, they must continue to follow the requirements and restrictions which remain in force on 17 February 2021 (dine-in service can only be provided till 5.59 pm and no more than 2 persons are allowed to be seated together at one table, i.e. the old system). In these circumstances, a responsible person for carrying on a catering business has to display a notice in the specified format (Annex V) at the entrance of the catering premises.
Arrangement for all staff involved in the operation of the premises to undergo virus testing every 14 days
A person responsible for carrying on a catering business must arrange all staff involved in the operation of the catering premises to undergo a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19 every 14 days. The staff should keep record of each SMS notification containing the test result for 31 days for checking by law enforcement agents. Staff of the catering premises could visit the 19 community testing centres for free testing for the first three months. They could also obtain a deep throat saliva specimen collection pack from any designated post office, vending machines set up at 20 MTR stations or designated general outpatient clinics of the Hospital Authority and return the specimen to the designated specimen collection points. They could also attend the mobile specimen collection stations for the testing. Please browse the website at https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html for details. Alternatively, you may arrange the staff to receive testing, at their own cost, by a private laboratory recognised by the Department of Health that can provide testing results through SMS notification (a list of private testing institutions is available at https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_RTPCR.pdf).
Starting from 9 am on 19 February 2021 (Friday), the staff of catering premises may register via the webpage of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) for the testing services provided by the FEHD's testing agency (Prenetics Limited). Persons in charge of licensed general restaurants, licensed light refreshment restaurants, licensed marine restaurants and licensed factory canteens may visit the website of Prenetics Limited to register their number of staff (input of licence number is required) and choose to collect specimen bottles at specified locations and at specified time slots. The details are as follows:
Operation hours of mobile vans at four designated locations
9:00 am to 5:00 pm beginning from 21 February 2021 (Sunday)
Four designated locations for parking of mobile vans
- Hoi Chak Street (next to Quarry Bay Park Phase 2)
- Outside the entrance of the car park at the shopping centre of Un Chau Estate, Sham Shui Po
- Sheung Wo Che Road, Sha Tin (outside Sha Tin Government Offices)
- Fung Cheung Road public light bus stop (next to Fung Kam Street Sports Centre, Yuen Long)
Beginning from 9 am on 21 February 2021 (Sunday), the staff may collect specimen bottles at the designated locations at the designated time slots. They must return the specimen bottles to Prenetics Limited in person at any of the specified locations one to two days later for testing by Prenetics Limited, which will release the test result via SMS on the following day or the day afterwards. The SMS test result must be kept in the original smartphone for inspection by FEHD staff where necessary. The daily quota for online registration is limited and registration will cease when the quota has been fully used up. For details, please browse the FEHD webpage (www.fehd.gov.hk) or contact the hotline of the testing agency (Prenetics Limited) at 3008 8319 from 9 am on 19 February 2021 (Friday) onwards.
Please note that with respect to compliance with the new requirement mentioned in paragraph 3(2) above, the Government does not accept test results provided by testing routes other than the above, such as the test results of rapid antibody tests or other testing kits purchased from the market.
The following are some issues of concern to the trade and the public:
(1) According to the requirements and directions, the person responsible for carrying on a catering business has to ensure that customers use their mobile phones to scan the “LeaveHomeSafe” venue QR code before entering the premises. Therefore, a customer who scans the QR code on the table or the menu after entering the premises does not comply with the corresponding requirement.
(2) As people did not have to take off their masks when ordering takeaways at catering premises, and their waiting time there is relatively short, it is not necessary for customers ordering takeaway meals (or food couriers in collection of takeaways) to scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" venue QR code during visits to catering premises. Nonetheless, to protect oneself and one’s family and friends, and to assist in control of the pandemic, it is advisable for customers ordering takeaways to scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" venue QR code at the catering premises.
(3) If a customer does not scan the “LeaveHomeSafe” venue QR code before entering the catering premises, the person responsible for carrying on a catering business has to register the customer’s name, contact number, and the date and time of his/her visit. To ensure compliance with this requirement, a person responsible for carrying on a catering business must check that such information is properly provided.
To enable the catering business to take a step forward when the pandemic is under control and economic activities resume, the Government strongly urges all persons responsible for carrying on catering businesses to work together and strengthen efforts for sustained implementation of epidemic prevention measures so that the public can enjoy dine-in services safely. We will step up inspections to ensure that the relevant specifications and directions are complied with and take stringent enforcement actions against offenders at an appropriate time after an initial phase of education and publicity. Joint operations with the Police will be conducted as needed. Persons responsible for carrying on catering businesses who contravene the statutory requirements under Cap. 599F would have committed a criminal offence and are subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.