Fill only 50% seats: Govt SOPs to reopen eateries

Restaurants have been asked to prefer takeaways instead of dine-in while all religious places should ensure sanitiser dispenser and thermal screening at the entrance, the health ministry said as it spelt out standard operating procedures to be followed by offices, eating joints, places of worship and shopping malls when they reopen.

Restaurants should devise seating arrangement in such a way that not more than 50% of the seating capacity is utilised. Disposable menus are advised.

In restaurants, instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins should be encouraged, as per new SOPs. For all categories, masks and face covers are mandatory. Places of worship should have specific markings with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing on the premises, the guidelines suggested.

Life inside the office is also set to undergo a change with the new guidelines. The new rules stipulate that seating arrangements will be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.

Effective and frequent sanitation on the premises should be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/ areas. In the cafeteria, canteen, dining hall adequate crowd and queue management has to be ensured to ensure social distancing norms. Staff and waiters will wear masks and hand gloves and take other required precautionary measures. The seating arrangement should be done in a manner to ensure a distance of at least one metre between patrons as far as feasible. In the kitchen, the staff will follow social distancing norms, the new rules said.

The guidelines prohibit large gatherings. Among the generic measures for shopping malls, religious places, restaurants and offices, physical distancing of at least six feet is to be followed as far as feasible.

For air-conditioning/ventilation in religious places, the guidelines of the CPWD shall be followed which stipulates that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate. Touching of statues, idols and holy books not to be allowed.

All workers, customers and visitors are to be allowed entry to malls only if they are using face cover/ masks. The face cover/masks has to be worn at all times inside the mall. The guidelines have made it clear that adequate manpower shall be deployed by the mall management for ensuring social distancing norms. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, adhering to social distancing norms. The use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged, according to the guidelines.

Some rules have also been specified to deal with situation when a person shows some signs of illness or Covid-19.

The rules stipulate that an ill person be placed in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace. Such a person must have their mask/face cover on till such time he/she is examined by a doctor and the nearest medical facility (hospital/ clinic) immediately contacted.

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