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Macao introduces tougher banqueting rules

Number of guests capped at 19 for government-related organisations, and 299 for private organisations.

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Number of guests capped at 19 for government-related organisations, and 299 for private organisations.

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PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:53 am

Eating out in big groups is now a tad more complicated after the government announced that public entities, as well as private organisations or community associations whose operations are subsidised by the government, are not allowed to hold banquets and other lunch and dinner gatherings with 20 or more guests.

Individuals, as well as private organisations or community associations whose operations are not subsidised by the government, are barred from holding meal gatherings with 300 or more guests.

The stricter measures for the organisation of banquets took effect yesterday when the Health Bureau (SSM) amended its guidelines on the organisation of meal gatherings. 

According to the new version of the guidelines, public entities, as well as private organisations or community associations whose operations are subsidised by the government, are only allowed to organise meal gatherings “when necessary”. In addition, they are only permitted to hold meal gatherings with up to 19 guests.

Individuals, as well as private organisations or community associations which do not receive any government subsidies, are allowed to organise meal gatherings with up to 299 guests.

However, according to the new version, all those attending or working for banquets and other lunch and dinner gatherings with at least 20 guests must present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming a negative Covid-19 result, regardless of whether they have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 or not.

Fully-vaccinated participants and staff members of banquets with at least 20 guests must present an NAT certificate confirming a negative Covid-19 result valid for seven days, provided that the negative Covid-19 NAT result for those commuting between Macao and Zhuhai is valid for seven days. However, participants and staff members who have not been fully inoculated must present a negative Covid-19 result valid for just 48 hours.

In case the negative Covid-19 NAT result for those commuting between Macao and Zhuhai is valid for just 48 hours or even shorter, fully-vaccinated participants and staff members of banquets with at least 20 guests must hold a negative Covid-19 result valid for 48 hours, while those who have not been fully inoculated must show a negative Covid-19 result valid for just 24 hours.

Currently, the negative Covid-19 NAT result for those commuting between the two cities is valid for just 24 hours.

The new measures for the organisation of banquets are much stricter than the ones that had been implemented before Macao’s latest Covid-19 outbreak that began on 18 June.

Before 18 June, there were no official limits on the number of guests attending banquets and other lunch and dinner gatherings. The major Covid-19 measure that had been implemented was that all those attending or working for banquets with over 400 guests were subject to mandatory NATs.

According to SSM statistics, as of last night, Macao’s Covid-19 tally since 22 January 2020 stood at 792 symptomatic and 1,438 asymptomatic cases, of which 787 and 1,333 respectively had meanwhile been cured. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:53 am

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