Centre issues guidelines for religious places, malls, restaurants set to reopen on June 8

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 05, 2020, 07:51 AM(IST)

Malls were shut down in March Photograph:( Reuters )

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The preparations for reopening the economy, which has been severely hit by the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, from June 8 comes even as the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to6,075 and cases climbed to 2,16,919 in the country on Thursday.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has issued a standard operating procedure to be followed by religious places, shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and offices as India gears up to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus crisis.

The preparations for reopening the economy, which has been severely hit by the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, from June 8 comes even as the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 6,075 and cases climbed to 2,16,919 in the country on Thursday.

India now stands seventh among the nations worst hit by the pandemic after the US, Brazil, Russia, the UK, Spain and Italy.

According to the SOPs, restaurants, hotels, places of worship and offices in COVID-19 containment zones will remain closed and only those outside these areas will be allowed to open.

Also, shopping malls located outside containment zones will be allowed to open, barring cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas in these establishments, the ministry said.

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The standard operating procedures included measures like allowing only asymptomatic staff, guests, customers and devotees on the premises, proper crowd management and maintaining effective and frequent sanitation, with a particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.

Frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches and washroom fixtures among others should be cleaned and regularly disinfected.

Hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) and thermal screening provisions should be in place mandatorily at the entrance and everyone should maintain respiratory etiquettes and follow the prescribed 'do's and dont's', the ministry stated.

The SOPs also advises installation and use of the Aarogya Setu app.

For air-conditioning and ventilation, the ministry said 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 degrees Celsius, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent and intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

Employees of the establishments who are at higher risk -- like older staff members or those who are pregnant or have underlying medical conditions - should take extra precautions. It also asked hotels and restaurant owners to encourage contactless mode of ordering and digital payments.

The government asked the hotels and hospitality services to ensure a proper record of the guest's travel history and medical condition, along with ID and self-declaration form.

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"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," the ministry said.

Guidelines for offices:

i. Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.

ii. Only asymptomatic staff/visitors shall be allowed.

iii. Any officer and staff residing in containment zone should inform the same to supervisory officer and not attend the office till containment zone is denotified.

Such staff should be permitted to work from home and it will not be counted as leave period.

iv. Drivers shall maintain social distancing and shall follow required dos and don'ts related to COVID-19. It shall be ensured by the service providers/ officers/ staff that drivers residing in containment zones shall not be allowed to drive vehicles.

v. There shall be provision for disinfection of the interior of the vehicle using 1% sodium hypochlorite solution/ spray. A proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. should be taken up.

vi. Advise all 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. Office management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible.

vii. 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.

viii. Routine issue of visitors/temporary passes should be suspended and visitors with proper permission of the officer who they want to meet, should be allowed after being properly screened.

ix. Meetings, as far as feasible, should be done through video conferencing.

x. Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.

xi. Staggering of office hours, lunch hours/coffee breaks to be done, as far as feasible.

xii. Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises - duly following social distancing norms be ensured.

xiii. 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 vehicles should be taken up.

xiv. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc., outside and within the office premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times.

xv. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.

xvi. Preferably separate entry and exit for officers, staff and visitors shall be organised.

xvii. Proper cleaning and frequent sanitisation of the workplace, particularly of the frequently touched surfaces must be ensured.

xviii. Ensure regular supply of hand sanitisers, soap and running water in the washrooms.

xix. Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the office shall be ensured.

xx. Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.

xxi. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.

xxii. 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 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 4070%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

xxiii. Large gatherings continue to remain prohibited.

xxiv. Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.

xxv. Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) shall be done in office premises and in common areas xxvi. Proper disposal of face covers / masks/gloves left over by visitors and/or employees shall be ensured.

xxvii. In the cafeteria/canteen/dining halls:

a. Adequate crowd and queue management to be ensured to ensure social distancing norms.

b. Staff/waiters to wear mask and hand gloves and take other required precautionary measures.

c.The seating arrangement to ensure a distance of at least 1 meter between patrons as far as feasible.

d. In the kitchen, the staff to follow social distancing norms.

5. Measures to be taken on occurrence of case(s):

Despite taking the above measures, the occurrence of cases among the employees working in the office cannot be ruled out. The following measures will be taken in such circumstances:

i. When one or few person(s) who share a room/close office space is/are found to be suffering from symptoms suggestive of COVID-19:

a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.

b. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.

c. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further advice shall be made regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.

d. The suspect case if reporting very mild/mild symptoms on assessment by the health authorities would be placed under home isolation.

e. Suspect case, if assessed by health authorities as moderate to severe, will be treated as per health protocol in appropriate health facility.

f. The rapid response team of the concerned district shall be requisitioned and will undertake the listing of contacts.

g.The necessary actions for contact tracing and disinfection of work place will start once the report of the patient is received as positive. The report will be expedited for this purpose.

ii.If there are large numbers of contacts from a pre-symptomatic/asymptomatic case, there could be a possibility of a cluster emerging in workplace setting. Due to the close environment in workplace settings this could even be a large cluster (>15 cases). The essential principles of risk assessment, isolation, and quarantine of contacts, case referral and management will remain the same. However, the scale of arrangements will be higher.

iii. Management of contacts:

a.The contacts will be categorised into high and low risk contacts by the District RRTas detailed in the Annexure I.

b. The high-risk exposure contacts shall be quarantined for 14 days.

c.These persons shall undergo testing as per ICMR protocol.

d. The low risk exposure contacts shall continue to work and closely monitor their health for next 14 days.

e. The flowchart for management of contact/ cases is placed at Annexure - II.

6. Closure of workplace

i. If there are one or two cases reported, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places/areas visited by the patient in past 48 hrs. There is no need to close the entire office building/halt work in other areas of the office and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol.

ii. However, if there is a larger outbreak, the building/block will have to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home, till the building/block is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for re-occupation.

Guidelines for religious places and places of worship:

i. Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.

ii. Only asymptomatic persons shall be allowed in the premises.

iii. All persons to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks.

iv. Posters/standees on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently. Audio and Video clips to spread awareness on preventive measures for COVID-19 should be regularly played.

v. Staggering of visitors to be done, if possible.

vi. 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.

vii. Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises - duly following social distancing norms shall be organized.

viii. Any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc., outside and within the premises shall follow social distancing norms at all times

ix. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distant to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.

x. Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors shall be organized xi. Maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet at all times when queuing up for entry.

xii. People should wash their hand and feet with soap and water before entering the premises.

xiii. Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.

xiv. 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 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 4070%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

xv. Touching of statues/idols / holy books etc. not to be allowed.

xvi. Large gatherings/congregation continue to remain prohibited.

xvii. 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.

xviii. Avoid physical contact while greeting each other.

xix. 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.

xx. No physical offerings like Prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc.to be allowed inside the religious place.

xxi. Community kitchens/langars / "Ann-daan", etc. at religious placesshould follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing food.

xxii. Effective sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with particular focus on lavatories, hand and foot-washing stations/areas.

xxiii. Frequent cleaning and disinfection to be maintained by the management of the religious place.

xxiv. The floors should particularly be cleaned multiple times in the premises.

xxv. Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by visitors and/or employees should be ensured.

xxvi. In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises: a. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.

b. Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.

c. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.

d. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.

e. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.

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