New guidelines for India’s malls, offices, religious places and hotels opening from June 8

Chandigarh: house keeping workers cleaning hotel in sector 43 at chandigarh. BCCL
  • The ministry issued guidelines for malls, offices, religious places and hotels opening from June 8, with the first phase of Unlock in India.
  • Authorities said only asymptomatic visitors should be allowed in these places with masks and all the entrances will have sanitiser dispensers along with thermal screening.
  • The ministry advised ensuring crowd management in the parking lots and outside their premises in order to ensure social distancing.
With the first phase of Unlock beginning next week, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday (June 4) issued SOPs on preventive measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The ministry issued guidelines for malls, offices, religious places and hotels opening from June 8 outside containment zones. Authorities said only asymptomatic visitors would be allowed in these places with masks and all the entrances will have sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening.


Masks, social distancing and no large gatherings in malls

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Noting shopping malls get frequented by a large number of people for shopping, entertainment and food, it said, “To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that required social distancing and other preventive measures are followed.”

  • Shopping malls in containment zones will remain closed, and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.
  • According to the ministry, the generic measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of Covid-19 and these “need to be observed by all (workers and visitors) in these places at all times.”
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet, use of face covers and masks and frequent hand washing and use of Aarogya Setu app was advised to all.
  • Spitting will be strictly prohibited.
  • “All employees who are at a higher risk — older, pregnant and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public.”
  • The ministry said the shopping mall management must facilitate work from home wherever feasible.
  • It said preferably separate entry and exits for visitors, workers and goods/supplies should be organised.
  • “The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the shopping mall authorities prior to allowing home delivery.”
  • The number of people in the elevators should be restricted, while “Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged”.
  • No large gatherings or congregations, gaming arcades and Children Play areas along with cinema halls inside the malls.
  • “Persons above 65 years of age, with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes,” they said.
Places of worship to have separate exits, no prasad offerings

Places of worship, set to open from June 8 outside containment zones, will not allow entry of senior citizens and other high-risk categories, are urged to have separate entry and exits and touching of idols or holy books will not be allowed, as per the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the government on Thursday (June 3).

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  • Religious places/places of worship for the public in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.
  • People above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home.
  • The religious places were asked to have mandatory hand sanitisation and thermal screening process for the visitors and only allow asymptomatic persons to be allowed. People with no face masks and face covers should not be allowed entry inside the premises.
  • The ministry also asked the religious places to keep the shoes or footwear of visitors outside. “If needed, they should be kept in separate slots for each individual/family by the persons themselves.”
  • Touching statues or idols or holy books etc. will not be allowed.
  • The ministry also asked the religious places to make seating arrangements in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained and for air-conditioning or ventilation.
  • The ministry clarified that the large gatherings or congregations would continue to remain prohibited. As a potential threat of the spread of infection, choir or singing groups should not be allowed, and recorded devotional music should be played.
  • The ministry also asked the people to avoid physical contact while greeting each other and advised devotees to bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them.
  • The ministry also prohibited the use of physical offerings like prasad or distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc.to be allowed inside the religious place.
  • However, it allowed the community kitchens or langars at religious places with proper physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
  • The ministry also asked the religious places to have proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises. “Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors shall be organised.”
  • The ministry also asked the religious places to get effective sanitation within the premises with a focus on lavatories, hand and foot-washing stations or areas.
50% seating, disposable menus, says govt’s SOPs for restaurants

Restaurants, opening up in non-containment zone areas from next week, have been asked to keep seating to half their capacity to ensure social distancing, and ensure necessary hygiene to contain the spread of Covid-19, as per the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the government on Thursday.

  • Only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed, and entrances will have mandatory hand hygiene - sanitiser dispensers, and thermal screening provisions.
  • The restaurants should also display posters, standees and audio-visual media on preventive measures for Covid-19 prominently.
  • The restaurants should ensure six feet distance in sitting arrangements and mandated to ensure the use of face masks and face covers, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette for all the staff members and patrons.
  • Not more than 50% of the seating capacity to be permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used.
  • The restaurants also shall ensure deep cleaning of all washrooms and sanitisation of the kitchen area at regular intervals.
  • The ministry also said that instead of dine-in, restaurants should encourage takeaways. “Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at the customer’s door. Do not hand over the food packet directly to the customer.”
  • The ministry said that the restaurants should ensure crowd management in the parking lots and outside their premises in order to ensure social distancing.
(with inputs from wire services) SEE ALSO: Coronavirus cases in India state wise Coronavirus News and Updates