Police patrol a party district making sure bars are abiding by COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions in Hong Kong on Dec 24, 2020. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG – The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the police inspected 48 bars over the weekend to ensure that they comply with city's COVID-19 regulations and ordered one shut for seven days over violations.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the FEHD said they also initiated prosecution actions against a bar and 11 other catering premises after they inspected 582 catering establishments from Saturday to Sunday.

The FEHD said they also initiated prosecution actions against a pub and 11 other catering premises after they inspected 582 catering establishments from Saturday to Sunday

An FEHD spokesman said that, given the continuous deterioration of the pandemic situation in the city, they will proactively enforce regulations to stop the spread of the virus in bars and catering premises.

 “(Their) operators and the public are urged not to defy the law, but to work together to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the community,” the spokesman said.

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The FEHD and the police issued fixed penalty notices to 53 customers and staff members of pubs and other catering premises.

The spokesman said customers attending banquets in catering premises have to comply with the rapid antigen test requirement.

With the expiry of the seven-day adaptation period for the operators of catering premises, law enforcement agencies will also stringently enforce the requirements starting Sunday, he added.

The FEHD noted that business owners who violate Vaccine Pass requirements can be fined HK$50,000 (US$6,370) and imprisoned for up to six months upon conviction. 

Customers who breach the limit on the number of persons per table and those not wearing a mask when they are not eating or drinking are also liable to a fixed penalty of HK$5,000, it added.

Hong Kong reported 10,683 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with health authorities saying that they expected the number of infections to continue rising.