The Health Ministry on Thursday released the standard operating procedure for restaurants and hotels which included measures like allowing only asymptomatic staff and guests inside the premises and proper crowd management.

The ministry asked employees who are at higher risk — like older staff members or those who are pregnant or 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. Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises duly following social distancing norms shall be ensured,” it said.

“Preferably separate entry and exits for patrons, staff and goods/supplies shall be organised,” it said.

The ministry also asked hotels and restaurant owners to encourage contactless mode of ordering and digital payments (using e-wallets).

For hotels and hospitality services, it asked them 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 said.

In SOPs released for restaurants, the ministry has curtailed the seating capacity to 50 per cent. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Instead of cloth napkins, use of disposable paper napkins should be encouraged.

Restaurants have 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.

The ministry also said that the staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.

“Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions and only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed,” it said.

Staggering of patrons to be done, if possible. Adequate manpower should be deployed by restaurant management for ensuring social-distancing norms, it said.

“Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises. Maintaining physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, when queuing up for entry and inside the restaurant as far as feasible.

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.

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