Health Ministry releases SOPs for restaurants

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The Union Health Ministry on Thursday released the standard operating procedure (SOPs) for malls, restaurants and hotels as they plan to open these establishments under relaxed guidelines from June 8.  The SOPs include measures like allowing only asymptomatic staff and guests inside the premises and proper crowd management.

Health

SOPs on preventive measures to contain spread of COVID-19 in shopping malls, offices, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality units were issued by the ministry under separate documents.

Under generic preventive measures, persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.  The generic measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all including staff and customers.

Besides, physical distancing of at least 6 feet has to be followed as far as feasible and use of face covers/masks has been made mandatory.

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Installation and use of Aarogya Setu App has been advised to all but not made compulsory.

The ministry also asked hotels and restaurant owners to encourage contactless mode of ordering and digital payments using e-wallets. Hotels and hospitality services have been asked to ensure a proper record of the guest’s travel history and medical condition, along with ID and self-declaration form.

“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,” it said.

“Gaming arcades/children play areas (wherever applicable) shall remain closed,” it added.  In SOPs released for restaurants, the ministry has curtailed the seating capacity to 50%, has advised disposable menus and use of disposable paper napkins instead of cloth napkins.

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Restaurants have also been asked to encourage takeaways instead of dine-in.

“Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at the customer’s door. Do not handover the food packet directly to the customer,” it said.

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% and intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.