Starting from Thursday, Hong Kong citizens are required to present proof of negative rapid antigen tests within 24 hours before entering any bars and pubs.
The city’s daily Covid-19 infections hit four digits again on Wednesday, following six bars in Central and Sheung Wan seeing outbreaks earlier.
Health authorities require all customers to show proof of a negative rapid test within 24 hours before entering bars and nightclubs from today.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department issued guidelines on Wednesday evening, saying that diners should not show the actual test stick or conduct rapid tests within the premises concerned for epidemic prevention reasons.
Customers who fail to present a negative test result will be issued a fixed penalty notice. Premises owners who failed to exercise due diligence will be held criminally liable and required to take corresponding measures to reduce the risk of transmission, that is, a 14-day closure.
The department also said catering premises may operate a business that mainly provides meals – the drinks sold or supplied should mainly be non-alcoholic, and the liquors served are only incidental when having meals.
If the catering premises with a small portion of a bar or pub zone, the operator must display a floor plan drawn in scale showing the bar or pub zone and location at the entrance of the premises. Patrons who do not enter the bar area are not required to show a rapid test result.
Ben Leung Lap-yan, charter president of the Licensed Bar and Club Association of Hong Kong, said it was difficult to define the areas of restaurants that require and do not require the rapid test.
He said if the authorities do not allow quick tests in the bar, the industry has to think about how to cooperate, “we may ask the guests to do it at the door.”
As for how many bars will be operated as catering premises from today, Leung said it depended on the location and mode of each bar, and bars with more guests may consider doing so.