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Unlock 1: New rules for shopping malls, restaurants and religious places

Emphasis on staggered, screened entry; social distancing
A deserted Kolkata mall.
A deserted Kolkata mall.
Telegraph file picture

Our Bureau And Agencies   |   New Delhi   |   Published 04.06.20, 06:24 PM

The central government has announced a host of rules for shopping malls, restaurants, and religious places to become effective from 8 June. The fifth phase of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown has been called Unlock 1, which has and will witness several staggered resumption of businesses and services.

Ground rules

Social distancing: A set of ground rules have been established to be followed everywhere which include the mandatory wearing of masks at all times, minimum 6 feet of social distancing, frequent washing or sanitisation of hands, following respiratory etiquettes and refraining from spitting on roads. In addition, people have been advised to self monitor and report any signs of illness. The government has also advised citizens to install and use the Aarogya Setu app. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage queues and ensure social distancing in the premises of mall institutions and establishments.

Screening and disinfecting: Malls, restaurants, and places of worship have to ensure that entrances to these intuitions and establishments should be equipped with sanitizer dispensers, thermal screening provisions. The guidelines allow entry to only asymptomatic persons, using face covers or masks.

SOP for discovery of a positive patient: In case of a suspect or confirmed case in any place, the ill person should be placed in a room or area isolated from others, and the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) should be informed. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action would be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection. The premises should be disinfected if the person is found positive.

Employee codes: All restaurant and shopping mall employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees 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. Managements are required to facilitate work from home wherever feasible.

Air Conditioning: For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70 per cent, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate

Shopping malls

  1. Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about Covid-19 to be displayed prominently.
  2. Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible.
  3. Adequate manpower shall be deployed by Mall Management for ensuring social distancing norms.
  4. Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises - duly following social distancing norms shall be ensured.
  5. Valet parking, if available, shall be operational with operating staff wearing face covers/ masks and gloves as appropriate. A proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be taken up.
  6. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc., outside and within the premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times.
  7. Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors, workers and goods/supplies shall be organized.
  8. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the shopping mall authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
  9. Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the shopping mall shall be ensured. Proper queue management and disinfection shall be organized.
  10. Number of customers inside the shop to be kept at a minimum, so as to maintain the physical distancing norms.
  11. Seating arrangement, if any, to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
  12. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.
  13. Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited.
  14. Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.
  15. Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all malls in common areas as well as inside shops, elevators, escalators etc.
  16. Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by visitors and/or employees should be ensured.
  17. Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.

Religious places

  1. In view of the potential threat of the spread of the infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed, the Standard Operating Procedures stated.
  2. Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them.
  3. No physical offerings like prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc should be allowed inside the religious place.
  4. Community kitchens, langars, 'Ann-Daan' etc at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.
  5. The ministry advised persons aged above 65, having comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years to stay at home and avoid visiting religious places.
  6. Audio and video clips to spread awareness on preventive measures for Covid-19 should be regularly played while posters on preventive measures should be displayed prominently.
  7. Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible. Footwear to be preferably taken-off inside one’s own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual/ family by the persons themselves.
  8. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc, outside and within the premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times..
  9. Touching of statues, idols and holy books should not be allowed and large gatherings remain prohibited.
  10. The management of the religious places must ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of the floors and other surfaces.

Restaurants and hotels

  1. Preferably separate entry and exits for patrons, staff and goods/supplies shall be organised.
  2. The ministry also asked hotels and restaurant owners to encourage contactless mode of ordering and digital payments (using e-wallets).
  3. For hotels and hospitality services, it asked them to ensure a proper record of the guest's travel history and medical condition, along with ID and self-declaration form.
  4. Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms. 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.
  5. Gaming arcades/children play areas (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
  6. Restaurants and eateries will curtail their eating capacity to 50 per cent. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Instead of cloth napkins, use of disposable paper napkins should be encouraged.
  7. Restaurants have been asked to encourage takeaways instead of dine-in.
  8. Staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
  9. Staggering of patrons to be done, if possible. Adequate manpower should be deployed by restaurant management for ensuring social-distancing norms, it said.


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