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83 people fined, 25 bars and restos to be prosecuted after weekend raids

20 June 2022

By The SUN


Police and government personnel on a bar inspection operation (File)

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has carried out inspections of hundreds of bars and restaurants in Central and other districts over the weekend, and initiated prosecutions on 14 bars and 11 restaurants suspected of breaching anti-pandemic regulations.

In addition, 83 people, who were either staff or patrons of the inspected premises, were slapped with a fixed penalty of $5,000 each for violating certain provisions of the Prevention and Control of Diseases Regulation (Cap 599).

The raids followed the spread of Covid-19 among 350 people, mostly patrons of six bars in Central and Sheung Wan, over three weekends in May and June.


In two separate statements released on Saturday and Sunday, the FEHD said it inspected a total of 515 catering premises (including 58 bars) and 153 other premises on Friday night until early Saturday. The next night, 608 catering premises (including 87 bars/pubs) and 130 other premises were inspected.

After the Friday night checks, prosecutions were initiated against operators of 10 bars and 10 catering premises.

Of these, two bars and 10 restaurants were told to stop serving and selling food and drinks 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.


The other eight bars found with irregularities were told to close for seven or 14 days starting on Saturday.

In addition, fixed penalty notices each costing $5,000 were issued to five bar customers and 20 staff suspected of breaching the new requirement of having to show a negative result for a rapid antigen test (RAT) within 24 hours before entering a bar or pub.

Twenty bar customers were also issued with the FPN on suspicion of not following the cap on the number of persons per table, and three more customers for not meeting the vaccine pass requirement and scanning the LeaveHomeSafe app before entering bars.

An additional 18 customers in other catering premises were meted the same penalty for not scanning the LeaveHomeSafe app QR code, plus 11 staff for not complying with the relevant RAT requirements.

The Saturday night inspections also led to prosecutions being initiated against operators of four bars/pubs and one other catering premises suspected of breaching the anti-pandemic regulations.

Two bars and the restaurant were told to stop serving food and drinks from 6pm until 4:59am on the next day and restrict the number of customers per table to no more than two for a period of three, seven or 14 days. The two other pubs were shut down, one for seven; and the other, 14 days.



In addition, the $5k FPNs were issued to seven customers suspected of breaching the cap on the number of persons per table and one customer suspected of breaching the RAT requirement in bars/pubs.

One restaurant customer was also issued the FPN on suspicion of breaching the vaccine pass requirement.

While no names were in the two press statements by FEHD, reports and social media posts said Crown Super Deluxe and Carbone, both operated by Black Sheep Restaurants, were among those penalized.

Both restaurants were reportedly told to stop serving food and drinks after 6pm each day.

Following the move on Carbone, Black Sheep said the restaurant would be serving food only at lunchtime for 14 days.

The group said it thought it was compliant with regulations and was consulting its lawyers on the matter. Meantime, it was looking for a worthy cause to which it could serve a “feast” because of the excess food it had, thinking it would be serving 1,000 customers over the weekend.

Cross-infections in six bars in Central including LINQ has led to 350 people testing positive (File)

The FEHD reminded relevant venues to strictly follow the regulations on businesses and premises (Cap. 599F) and the vaccine pass regulation, including the new requirement for the RAT for customers (Cap. 599L) as part of the bid to minimize cross infections.

The statement 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."    

Any person in charge of a catering business who contravenes the regulations may be prosecuted and if convicted, sentenced to a maximum fine of $50,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment.

Patrons must also comply with regulations applicable to them. Non-compliance could result in them being fined a maximum of $10,000 which they could discharge by paying a fixed penalty of $5,000.

The fixed penalty may be imposed on those who violate the maximum number of people allowed to sit per table, not wearing a mask when not eating or drinking at a table, or failing to produce a negative RAT result.

Operators of catering establishments who fail to exercise due diligence when checking the RAT results of customers may be held criminally liable and required to close their premises for up to 14 days as penalty.

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