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Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Reveals Insufficient Air Ventilation after Explosion in Restaurant Needs Serious Review

2021-03-03T23:01:27.774Z

A cluster of new coronavirus infections appeared in Mingchao's restaurant. Government expert consultant Yuan Guoyong judged that one of the reasons for the outbreak was that the amount of fresh air delivered was only one-third of the required license, making the virus easy to spread through the air over short distances. Adequate supply



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Written by: Commentary Editing Room

2021-03-04 06:45

Last update date: 2021-03-04 06:45

A cluster of new coronavirus infections appeared in Mingchao's restaurant. Government expert consultant Yuan Guoyong judged that one of the reasons for the outbreak was that the amount of fresh air delivered was only one-third of the required license, making the virus easy to spread through the air over short distances.

Adequate supply of fresh air is one of the prerequisites for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to issue a license to a restaurant. The restaurant is certainly responsible for violations, but the restaurant has been operating for a period of time before being exposed to insufficient ventilation. The Department must review the license and conduct routine inspections. No missed move.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department must require restaurants to meet hygiene and ventilation requirements when processing applications for restaurant licenses.

Furthermore, since the spread of the epidemic, the government and medical experts have repeatedly urged restaurants to increase the frequency of indoor ventilation to at least six times per hour to reduce the risk of virus transmission.

In October last year, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department also launched a voluntary air exchange rate reporting scheme to allow restaurants to declare air exchange rates up to the standard. This shows that the Department is very concerned about the ventilation rate requirements of restaurants.

Yuan Guoyong pointed out that the air supply of K11 MUSEA's famous restaurant is only one-third of the design.

(Photo by Lin Songhua)

Does the FEHD check the ventilation rate?

However, Yuan Guoyong pointed out that the air ducts in the stores involved were narrow this time, which reduced the fresh air transport volume.

Since shopping malls and restaurants have only been in business for more than a year, there should be no major changes in the setting of pipes, which means that the restaurants have not been in compliance with the ventilation regulations for some time.

Furthermore, in response to media enquiries, the FEHD revealed that it had inspected the shop twice since January this year and has not found that the shop violated the “Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Instructions) (Business and Premises) Regulations” Chapter 599F of the law. , But did not respond to whether there was an inspection for ventilation requirements.

It can be inferred that even though the Department was more alert to the ventilation requirements of restaurants, frontline staff did not care.

The front-line staff did not care, perhaps because there were not many restaurants meeting the ventilation requirements.

Some people in the restaurant engineering industry pointed out that the layout of the restaurant premises would restrict the ventilation design and the amount of air extraction, such as low ceilings or excessive ceiling beams.

Even new-style restaurants that are willing to spend money to renovate do not meet the licensing requirements. If the staff of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department follow the regulations to enforce the law, more restaurants may be fined and the implications are widespread.

At present, the fresh air per person in the restaurant is not less than 17 cubic meters per hour. Some restaurant owners and surveyors say that this is equivalent to two to four air changes per hour in a general restaurant.

Without incentives or new regulations, restaurants have no incentive to meet the stricter requirement of six air changes per hour.

In fact, since the launch of the voluntary reporting scheme, only 41 restaurants and four snack shops have declared air exchange rates up to the standard, which is a very small number of the more than 12,000 licensed restaurants in Hong Kong.

Some experts pointed out that local restaurants should improve ventilation, and it is best to change air 6 times an hour.

(Photo by Yu Junliang)

Employees, customers, and the government are all responsible

However, poor ventilation facilities are not an excuse to circumvent the law.

In response to the outbreak of the famous food restaurant, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has tightened the operation requirements of the restaurant. By the end of April, it will set up a "Taiwan Commissioner" and stipulate six air changes per hour.

In response to reports from the industry that it is difficult to meet the requirements, the Department has reserved an alternative method, that is, to install air purification equipment that meets the specifications in restaurants.

There is no doubt that the epidemic has severely smashed the business of the catering industry, and the increase in epidemic prevention requirements will definitely further increase the operating costs of manpower, equipment, and electricity, which will add to the burden of restaurants.

Even so, ventilation requirements are actually quite basic for restaurants. Even if the epidemic is over, restaurants should maintain good ventilation in the shop. Customers who feel that the shop is comfortable and not baked are naturally more willing to patronize. The shop has paid the cost today and will return in the future. .

Of course, restaurants have fulfilled their hygiene responsibilities, employees and customers must also cooperate, stay at home to rest if they are sick, maintain hand hygiene frequently, and use "safe travel" to record visits to places.

As for the government, in addition to investigating why it overlooked the inadequate ventilation of famous restaurants, it must also step up inspections and enforcement after the implementation of the new health regulations.

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Source: hk1

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