Updated at 6.53pm: The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has reminded poultry retailers and the public that the next Rest Day falls on Friday. A department spokesman said Rest Days were still necessary in Hong Kong to ensure the industry could maintain strict hygiene standards. ?On the Rest Day, operators of market stalls and fresh provision shops had to slaughter all live poultry remaining on their premises before noon, and suspend business in the afternoon and evening to carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection,? the spokesman said. He urged all poultry retailers to strictly observe the Rest Day conditions. ?We remind stall owners and licensees that they must not remove any unsold live poultry from their premises to avoid slaughtering them before the start of the Rest Day.? ?Staff of our department will inspect the poultry outlets on that day. If any outlets are found not to comply with the Rest Day conditions, it will lead to immediate cancellation of fresh provision shop licences or termination of market stall tenancies,? he warned. Live poultry may still be on sale on Friday morning, but none will be sold from noon until the following morning. The ?rest days? were introduced in 2004 by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (FEHD) to minimising the risk of an avian flu virus spreading on premises selling live poultry. There are still widespread fears in Hong Kong and China about the threat of avian flu or ?bird flu?. The FEHD will designate two ?rest days? every month at live poultry retail outlets. On these days, all trading in live poultry is temporarily suspended to facilitate thorough cleansing and disinfection of the outlets. Prior to the ?rest days?, all live poultry in the retail outlets have to be slaughtered.