The stringent restrictions imposed under the nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, will almost end from tomorrow (June 8) as the first of three phases of Unlock announced by the Centre last week will come into effect from tomorrow.
According to Centre’s May 30 order, malls, restaurants, religious places, places of worship will reopen from tomorrow across the country after a gap of more than 70 days.
The government on May 30, while extending the lockdown to its fifth phase, said that the Unlock 1 will be initiated from June 8 under which the restrictions imposed under the COVID-19-induced lockdown will be relaxed to a great extent. However, the order also stated that strict restrictions will continue till June 30 in containment zones across the nation.
Meanwhile, the union health ministry on Thursday had issued standard operating protocols (SOPs) for the resumption of these places, according to which several norms have to be followed while visiting these places.
SOPs for restaurants:
Takeaways to be encouraged, instead of Dine-In. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at customer’s door. Seating arrangement has to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. In restaurants, not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity will be permitted. The restaurants have been advised to use disposable menus.
Places of worship: The Centre also allowed the reopening of religious places and places of worship from June 8, which were shut from last 75 days when the government announced the nation-wide lockdown. However, the Centre has ordered the administrators to strictly follow social distancing norms and SOPs to check the spread of COVID-19
SOPs for religious places:
As far as feasible recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed. No physical offerings like prasad/distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc should be allowed inside the religious place. Touching of statues, idols and holy books should not be allowed and large gatherings remain prohibited. The devotees have to take off their shoes in their vehicles only. Physical contact should be avoided as much as possible.
Shopping malls: Shopping malls were also allowed to open from June 8 by the Centre’s order on May 30. The Health Ministry on Thursday announced new rules for shopping malls which have been permitted to open from June 8, except those falling in containment zones.
SOPs for shopping malls:
Thermal screening of all visitors mandatory at entry point, along with compulsory hand hygiene. Only asymptomatic visitors will be allowed to enter the shopping mall. It will be mandatory for all visitors as well as workers to wear face masks at all times inside the mall. Gaming arcade, children’s play area and cinema halls inside the mall will remain closed. There is also a bar on trial of clothing. Number of customers inside a shop has to be kept minimum. The government has made mall management responsible for ensuring social distancing.
Hotels: In a relief for the hospitality sector, the Centre also allowed hotels to open across the country. Meanwhile, the union health ministry on Thursday also issued SOPs for hotels and said said that only asymptomatic staff and guests should be allowed inside the premises and there should be proper crowd management.
SOPs for Hotels:
Face masks are compulsory for guests and employees. Employees would need to maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places. Guests and employees are advised to practice frequent handwashing with soap. Preferably separate entry and exits for guests, staff and goods and supplies should be organised. Luggage should be disinfected before sending to rooms. For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through an intercom. Gaming arcades and children play areas (wherever applicable) will remain closed.
Here is a list of what will be reopening from tomorrow across the country and with what restrictions:
In a major relief for the food outlets, the Centre in its order allowed the opening of restaurants from June 8 during Unlock 1. However, the order also stated that the resumption should take place by following the SOPs.