As India is gradually exiting over two-month nationwide lockdown in wake of novel coroanvirus outbreak in the country, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued fresh SOPs for restaurants in order to contain Covid-19 spread.
As a common SOP, the government has said that persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes. For all the establishments, government has recommended ensuring proper social distancing and disinfection of spaces and wearing of masks. "Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all," it added.
Under the restaurant guidelines, the MoHFW stated that restaurants in containment zones shall remain closed. "Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up during the ongoing," the health ministry said in a statement.
For those restaurants which are operating or will operate according to rules laid out by each state individually, such restaurants should ensure mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions and the entrances. Only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed and should wear face masks at all times inside the restaurant.
Moreover, the health ministry added that takeaways to be encouraged, instead of Dine-In. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at customer’s door and Direct handover of the food packet to the customer will not allowed.
“The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries. Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. In restaurants, not more than 50% of seating capacity to be permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged," the statement read.
Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged, it added.
Among other SOPs, adequate manpower shall be deployed by restaurant management for ensuring social distancing norms.
The government of India had imposed a nationwide lockdown on 25 March in order to combat the novel coroanviurs spread. Currently, the country is under the fifth phase of the lockdown which entails much more relaxations than the previous ones including rail, road and domestic air travel. However, the relaxations do not imply to the containment zones, which need to follow strict guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs from time to time.
Meanwhile, India saw the biggest single-day jump in daily coronavirus count with 9,304 people testing positive for Covid-19. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country increased to 216,919, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data.
The fatalities from coronavirus pandemic crossed the grim milestone of 6,000-mark after 260 more deaths were recorded since Wednesday.