The Government on Thursday issued standard operating procedures on preventive measures to contain spread of novel Coronavirus for shopping malls, restaurants and hotels as they are set to reopen from June 8.

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry guidelines, which will come into effect from Monday, have directed all such places to ensure the protocol of social distancing with face masks mandatory for gaining entrance.

As a generic preventive measure, people above 65 years of age, children below the age of 10, persons with comorbidities and pregnant woman have been advised to stay at home.

Physical distancing of at least 6 feet has be followed as far as feasible and spitting is strictly prohibited.

Respiratory etiquette is to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.

The Government has also advised installation and use of Aarogya Setu App.

SOPs for shopping malls

The health ministry said that only asymptomatic customers are to be allowed with face masks and entrances of malls are mandated to have sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening.

Shopping malls in containment zones will remain closed, and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.

All employees who are at a higher risk — older, pregnant and employees who have underlying medical conditions — have been advised to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any frontline work requiring direct contact with the public.

The ministry further directed that the shopping mall management must facilitate work-from-home wherever feasible.

Separate entry and exits are to be organised for visitors, workers and goods/supplies .

The staff for home deliveries are to be screened thermally by the shopping mall authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.

Also, the number of people in the elevators have been restricted, while “use of escalators with one person on alternate steps is encouraged”.

The guidelines also bar large gatherings or congregations, gaming arcades and ‘Children Play’ areas along with cinema halls inside the malls.

SOPs for restaurants and hotels

With hotels and other hospitality units in non-containment zones, allowed to reopen from next week, they have been directed to maintain social distancing, hygiene, and procedures to minimise physical contact between staff and guests, among others, as per the standard operating procedures issued by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

All hotels have been directed to follow proper protocol and hygiene as per the SOPs and adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in and check-out.

Luggage has to be disinfected before being sent to rooms.

All hotels and other hospitality units have been directed to take suitable measures to restrict any further transmission of COVID-19 while providing accommodation and other tourist services.

Guests at higher risk — those who are older, pregnant or have underlying medical conditions — have been advised to take extra precautions.

Each room is to be disinfected once the guest leaves.

Only asymptomatic staff and guests are to be allowed entry, and with face masks which have to be worn at all times inside the hotel.

The other measures to be adopted are frequent hand washing with soap even when hands are not visibly dirty, and use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, wherever feasible.

Hotels have been directed to encourage room service and takeaways instead of dine-in and the kitchens are to be properly sanitised regularly.

For the restaurants, seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. Disposable menus are advised to be used and instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins is to be encouraged. Regular checkup of staff has been made mandatory.

On May 30, the Centre took an exit step from the 68-day nationwide lockdown, declaring that the restrictions will be limited only to containment zones up to June 30 and that the prohibited activities will be opened in a phased manner in areas outside these zones, allowing restaurants, malls, religious places and education sectors to open in a phased manner.

Lockdown 5.0 or Unlock has kicked in with some major relaxations compared to the previous phase of the lockdown including travelling between borders of states.

According to the guidelines in phase I, religious places and places of worship for public, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and shopping malls will be permitted to open from June 8, 2020.