Catering business subsidy set

May 4, 2020

The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department announced that applications for the Catering Business (Social Distancing) Subsidy Scheme, under the second round of the Anti-epidemic Fund, will start from May 5.


The department said the scheme, which is estimated to benefit 16,000 catering outlets and their employees, will provide financial relief measures to the catering businesses which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 epidemic and social distancing measures.


It will provide subsidies ranging from $250,000 to $2,200,000 to eligible licence holders of general restaurants, light refreshment restaurants, marine restaurants and factory canteens in operation according to the floor area of the premises as specified on the licence.


The primary goal of the scheme is to support the payment of employees' salaries during a six-month period following application approval.


To provide immediate relief to the catering sector, the subsidy will be dished out upfront, in two tranches.


To avoid abuse, applicants should undertake that there will be no redundancy of staff for three months on receipt of the first tranche of subsidy and another three months on receipt of the second tranche.


They should also undertake that not less than 80% of the subsidies for respective months would be used to pay salaries of staff working at the premises.


Applicants should submit within a specified period a certificate issued by a Certified Public Accountant (practising) on its total staff salaries and total number of salaried staff for each of the months covered by the subsidy.


They should also submit a certificate issued by a CPA on its total staff salaries and total number of staff working at the premises for the month of March this year.


To avoid double benefits, applicants should declare that they have not and will not submit any application under the Employment Support Scheme.


Each catering outlet directed to close its licensed premises under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation, including karaoke establishments, nightclubs and bars or pubs, is eligible for a further one-off subsidy of $50,000.


Applications should be submitted to the department's District Environmental Hygiene Offices in person or by mail. Food licence holders can also submit their applications through the website.


The deadline for application is June 5.


Upon receipt of the completed application form and supporting documents and after verification, the disbursement of the first tranche of subsidies can generally be made in two to three weeks by crossed cheques to the corresponding licensed food premises.

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