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Unlock 1: The Union Health And Family Welfare Ministry Announced The New Protocol

By: Pinki Fri, 05 June 2020 12:09 PM

Unlock 1: The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry Announced the New Protocol

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday announced the new protocol for shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and places of worship, which are to open gradually with the phased lifting of the lockdown. These guidelines, which will come into effect from Monday, include steps like staggered entry into malls and no touching of idols at religious places. In shrines, only asymptomatic people will be allowed and they should wash their hands and feet with soap and water before entering the premises. Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own. Touching of statues, idols, icons or holy books are not allowed. "No physical offerings like Prasad or distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc. will be allowed inside the place of worship," the guidelines further say. As far as feasible, recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed.


In malls, too, the new normal will be mandatory screening of temperature at entrances; visitors will be allowed only if they are in masks, which in turn should be worn at all times on the premises. Cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play pens in these establishments will remain closed. Social distancing -- a minimum of 6 feet when queuing up for entry and once inside the premises – has to be maintained to the extent possible. The number of people to be allowed inside shops in malls would also be minimal.

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Likewise, the number of people on elevators would be restricted and use of escalators with one person on alternate step would be the unwritten norm. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.


For restaurants and food courts in malls, the ministry has limited the seating capacity to 50 per cent. Disposable menus and use of disposable paper napkins would be advised. The seating arrangement has to be such that adequate social distancing is maintained. Restaurants have been asked to encourage takeaways and deliveries 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," the protocol say. The staff running errands must be screened thermally before setting out for a delivery.

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For air-conditioning and ventilation, the guidelines of the Central Public Works Department shall be followed. This essentially means 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 vulnerable -- elderly staff members or those who are pregnant or have underlying medical conditions - should take extra care. The Ministry has also directed hotels and restaurant owners to encourage contactless mode of ordering and recourse to digital payments.


Hotels will maintain a proper record of the guest's travel history and medical condition, along with ID and self declaration form. Luggage has to be disinfected before being carried to rooms. For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through intercom/ mobile phone and room service should be provided while maintaining requisite social distance. There will be proper crowd management in parking lots and outside the premises. Valet parking, if available, will be with operating staff wearing face covers/ masks and gloves. A proper disinfection of steering, door and seats will be undertaken.

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