‘LeaveHomeSafe rule at all eateries may hit business’

Six catering associations said on Friday authorities should ease social distancing rules at eateries if diners must use the LeaveHomeSafe app, saying revenue would drop at least 10 to 20 percent if the measure comes into effect.

Lawmaker Michael Tien had earlier suggested that authorities might make it compulsory for people to use the app when going to any kind of restaurant.

While some eateries already have the app rule, others allow diners to provide their personal details on paper and some have no entry requirements at all, depending on the venue’s operating hours, the maximum number of people seated at each table, and the vaccination status of staff and customers.

Speaking after a meeting with officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, representatives from the catering industry said they understood the importance of the Covid app, but worried that making it compulsory for diners at all restaurants would hit sales.

To offset the measure’s potential impact, the representatives urged the government to consider extending dining-in hours, increasing the maximum number of customers per table, and allowing restaurants to run at a higher capacity.

They also proposed that restaurants be exempted from liability if their customers were found to have used a fake LeaveHomeSafe app, because staff may not be able to tell whether an app is genuine.