Addressing Thursday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou announced that the government has completed its guidelines for the city’s community associations organising receptions and banquets, according to which all those attending an indoor event with over 400 guests during which they cannot wear a facemask for over one hour – i.e. when having their meal – will be required to be tested for Covid-19 before attending the event.
Leong said that the government’s guidelines on the management of group catering events will take effect on Monday, with the aim of reducing the possible risk of the novel coronavirus spreading during the events, after considering that the city’s various community associations will organise receptions or banquets to celebrate the upcoming National Day on 1 October.
According to Leong, the guidelines urge community associations to organise receptions instead of luncheons or dinners in order to shorten the duration of the event as much as possible.
The guidelines also suggest that toasts should not be made by walking from table to table during a banquet, Leong said, adding that the tables should be set at over one metre apart from each other.
According to the guidelines, the organisers will have to prepare alcohol-based handrubs for the guests, perform temperature checks on all those entering the venue, and request them to present their Macao Health Code. The organisers should also refuse admission to anyone with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, Leong said.
According to the guidelines, all guests at the venue will be required to wear a facemask all the time when meals are not served and stick to social distancing. They can only take off their facemasks when eating, during which they should store the facemasks properly so as to prevent the environment and other objects from being contaminated, Leong said.
If practicable, self-service food and drinks should be properly packaged or covered, according to the guidelines. If many guests or staff members show similar symptoms after the event, the organisers should notify the Health Bureau of the situation, Leong said.
Leong said that according to the guidelines, all those attending an event will be required to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate if the event “simultaneously” meets three conditions: 1) being held indoors, 2) involving over 400 guests in the same space, and 3) the guests cannot wear a facemask for over one hour during the event.
“All organisers and guests must obey the guidelines,” Leong said.
Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, said that banquets – both luncheons and dinners – are events where guests cannot wear a facemask for over one hour as they are having a meal. Lo pointed out that guests attending a reception just have to doff their facemasks when eating the snacks, which usually does not last one hour, adding that therefore guests attending receptions will not have to undergo the nucleic acid tests.
Macao has not recorded a new Covid-19 case for 83 days, while no local case has been confirmed in 172 days.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)