The Union Health Ministry on Thursday has issued standard operating procedures to be followed by religious places, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and offices even as the country reported record spike in COVID-19 cases.
In its Friday morning update, the Union health ministry said the country registered a record spike of 9,851 new cases since Thursday 8 AM, with 273 fatalities in this period.
India is gearing up to reopen its economy from June 8, as restaurants, hotels, places of worship and offices outside COVID-19 containment zones are allowed to open. Shopping malls located outside containment zones will be allowed to open, barring cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas in these establishments.
Among its general guidelines, the health ministry asks everyone to install and use of the Aarogya Setu app. Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
Frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches and washroom fixtures among others are to be cleaned and regularly disinfected.
Hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions should be in place mandatorily at entrances and everyone is asked to follow respiratory etiquettes.
For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which among other things emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices be in the range of 24-30oC, relative humidity in the range of 40- 70%, with intake of fresh air as much as possible and adequate cross ventilation.
Guidelines for Offices
— Entrance to have mandatory hand hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.
— Only asymptomatic staff/visitors shall be allowed.
— All officers and staff / visitors to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/mask has to be worn at all times inside the office premises.
— Meetings, as far as feasible, should be done through video conferencing.
— Preferably separate entry and exit for officers, staff and visitors shall be organised.
— Only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed.
— All staff and patrons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/masks has to be worn at all times inside the restaurant.
— Staff / waiters should wear mask and hand gloves and take other required precautionary measures.
— Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged.
— Tables to be sanitised each time customer leaves.
— Takeaways to be encouraged, instead of Dine-In. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at customer’s door. DO NOT handover the food packet directly to the customer.
— The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
— Preferably separate entry and exits for patrons, staff and goods/supplies shall be organized.
— Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. In restaurants, not more than 50% of seating capacity to be permitted.
— Disposable menus are advised to be used. xix. Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.
— Buffet service should also follow social distancing norms among patrons.
— Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged.
For religious places
— Allow only asymptomatic people on the premises and only if using face cover/masks.
— People should wash their hand and feet with soap and water before entering the premises.
— Shoes / footwear to be preferably taken off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual / family by the persons themselves.
—Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
—Touching of statues/idols / holy books etc. not to be allowed
— Large gatherings/congregation continue to remain prohibited
— In view of potential threat of spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music/songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed
— Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them.
— No physical offerings like Prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc.to be allowed inside the religious place.
— Community kitchens/langars /Annadaan, etc. at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
— Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.
— Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all malls in common areas as well as inside shops, elevators, escalators etc.
— Proper disposal of face covers / shops, elevators, escalators etc. xxiv. Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by visitors and/or employees should be ensured.
— Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.
— Details of the guest (travel history, medical condition etc.) along with ID and selfdeclaration form must be provided by the guest at the reception.
— Hand sanitizers must be kept at the reception for guests to use. Guests to sanitise hands before and after filling relevant forms including A&D register.
— Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in and check-out.
— Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms.
— Room service or takeaways to be encouraged, instead of dine-in. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at guest or customer’s door and not handed directly to the receiver. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the hotel authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
—For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through intercom/ mobile phone and room service (if any) should be provided while maintaining adequate social distance.