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Hong Kong to Ease Dog Entry into Restaurants after 1 Year?

Hong Kong to Ease Dog Entry into Restaurants after 1 Year?

Although Hong Kong boasts numerous pet-friendly restaurants, there have been occasional incidents where these establishments have faced complaints and abruptly barred cats and dogs from entering. This unfortunate situation arises from the current regulations in Hong Kong, which prohibit dogs from entering food premises. However, there is good news on the horizon. The Environment and Ecology Bureau has recently announced its intention to review these regulations. As a result, there may be a brighter future where our feline and canine companions can dine alongside their owners in restaurants without any hindrance.

The Food Business Regulation


As per the provisions outlined in Section 10B of the Food Business Regulation (Cap. 132X) , it is strictly prohibited for any individual to bring canines into any establishment involved in the food industry. Likewise, those engaged in food-related activities are prohibited from granting access to dogs within such premises, with the exception of guide dogs or dogs performing lawful duties, such as police dogs. Individuals found in violation of this regulation may face a maximum penalty of a fine amounting to HKD 10,000 and a potential imprisonment term of three months. Under the purview of this legislation, upon receiving complaints from the public, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department will take appropriate action, which may include offering guidance, issuing warnings, or initiating legal proceedings against the concerned individuals and food premises.



Under the current regulations, restaurants can only achieve pet-friendliness by exploring alternative avenues. For instance, they may consider establishing outdoor areas that are not explicitly covered by existing legislation or strategically arranging seating within the public areas of shopping malls.


In response to the increasing demand from pet owners to dine out with their beloved companions in recent years, the Environment and Ecology Bureau finally provided a response to queries from Legislative Council members on February 21st. They acknowledged that the current regulations, which have been in place for nearly 30 years, need to adapt to the changing social and cultural landscape. The department is actively collaborating with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to review the existing legislation, drawing insights from experiences in other regions and seeking public opinions. This comprehensive evaluation process is expected to take approximately one year to complete.


Overseas exemplars of success 

If we are to seek inspiration from other regions, Taiwan serves as a compelling success story. Taiwan boasts numerous pet-friendly restaurants and establishments specifically catering to pet owners. In accordance with local food hygiene regulations, pet owners are allowed to freely bring their pets into restaurants. The legislation also takes into consideration the needs of other citizens, requiring pet owners to responsibly supervise their pets and prevent them from causing any disturbances within the premises. Pet-friendly restaurant operators are obligated to establish clear delineation between dining areas for customers and designated areas for pets, ensuring that food contamination is effectively avoided.

The practices in the United Kingdom align with this approach, as there are no specific laws or health regulations prohibiting dogs from entering dining areas of food establishments. It is left to the discretion of the establishment whether or not to accommodate pets. The only condition is to ensure that dogs do not enter areas such as kitchens or food storage rooms, where meals are being prepared, in order to maintain hygiene. Many European countries are also known for their pet-friendly attitudes. In countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland, it is generally acceptable for pets to be present in the outdoor areas of restaurants. Allowing dogs to dine outdoors, similar to the current gray area in Hong Kong's regulations, provides a readily available and easily adaptable practice to consider.



In several European countries, there exists a liberating freedom to dine with one's cherished pets in restaurants.


Apart from dining in restaurants, easing restrictions on public transportation is also a dream for many pet owners. In the response from the Environment and Ecology Bureau regarding restaurant regulations, public transportation was also mentioned. Currently, ferry services, public light buses, and non-franchised buses have the discretion to decide their pet policies, while MTR and franchised buses only permit guide dogs. Although authorities are considering further relaxation, it is important to take into account the high daily passenger volume and limited space in MTR trains and franchised buses. The availability of carriage space and passenger capacity must be carefully balanced, while also considering the impact on other passengers. The department has stated its commitment to monitor relevant suggestions and consider potential changes to the current arrangements.


>> Pet Transportation Policies of Various Nations 




Our platform is a one-stop destination for the latest and the most comprehensive pet-related information. From helping you discover pet-friendly businesses nearby, to planning fun weekend activities, we are your trusted partner when it comes to curating a healthy and exciting lifestyle for your pet friends and you. We also encourage pet owners to build their Pet’s Social Community through Pet-a-hood, by exchanging pet-caring experience, pet-related news, and connecting with other pet lovers in the neighbourhood.


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