'Restaurants support making LeaveHomeSafe mandatory' - RTHK
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'Restaurants support making LeaveHomeSafe mandatory'

2021-11-23 HKT 10:16
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  • 'Restaurants support making LeaveHomeSafe mandatory'
A representative of the catering sector says most restaurants agree that it should be made mandatory for customers to use the LeaveHomeSafe app if that means social-distancing rules could be relaxed further.

Most restaurants are now allowed to let people jot down their particulars on paper forms as an alternative to the app, although they have to observe stricter anti-epidemic rules than businesses that only accept the app.

Simon Wong, the president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, told an RTHK programme on Tuesday that people sometimes write down wrong or inaccurate information, causing great stress to staff members.

“A lot of information provided was false or wrong, it’s difficult for front line staff to verify the information. This has caused great stress for them. The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the police have in the past month or so stepped up patrols, and found some restaurants have flouted the rules in relation to the paper forms,” he said.

He said making the app mandatory for all restaurants means there’s room to relax social-distancing rules.

“We have made some suggestions to the government: business hours can be extended, say, to midnight. The distance between tables can also be reduced from 1.5 metres to 1.2 metres, so they can place more tables and chairs,” he said.

He noted a small number of restaurants have chosen to offer only paper forms, even though that means only two people can be seated at each table and the restaurants have to close at 6pm every day. Wong said if the LeaveHomeSafe app is made mandatory, these restaurants should not be exempted.

Respiratory medicine expert Leung Chi-chiu said it'd be "a good thing" if the app is made mandatory for all restaurants.

He told the same programme that the government should also consider using other technologies, such as Bluetooth, as tracking tools, because they automatically record people’s whereabouts.

He also said the authorities should think about how to trace people’s movement on public transportation systems.