No prasad or touching idols in temples, disposable menus in restaurants, AC temp at 24 degrees: Centre issues guidelines for Unlock 1.0

No prasad or touching idols in temples, disposable menus in restaurants, AC temp at 24 degrees: Centre issues guidelines for Unlock 1.0

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No distribution of prasad or sprinkling of holy water at places of worship, disposable menus and napkins at restaurants, contactless technology-based check-in at hotels and employees with comorbidities and expectant mothers not to be allowed in frontline public dealing jobs – these are a part of detailed guidelines issued by the government for hotels, restaurants and places of worship.

As India gears up for Unlock 1.0 starting June 8, the ministry of health and family welfare has issued detailed guidelines for opening shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, places of worship and offices. While following social distancing measures, the ministry has asked all establishments to ensure hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrance, marking out specific places where people could queue up and ensure only asymptomatic individuals are allowed inside. Apart from common directives in the guidelines issued, the ministry gave specific all standard operating procedures (SOPs) to each type of establishment.

In places of worship, the ministry has specified that individuals would be asked to wash their hands and feet before entering and there would be no distribution of prasad or sprinkling of holy water or touching of idols and holy books. “In view of potential threat of spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music/songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed,” the guidelines have specified.

Worshippers would be asked to carry their own prayer mats and no common mats would be allowed for use. Shoes and footwear would be removed inside the vehicles.

For shopping malls, the ministry has specified maintaining an ambient air conditioning temperature of 24 to 30 degrees and a humidity level between 40 and 70%. Malls and restaurants have been asked to advise senior citizens, children under 10 years of age and pregnant women to stay at home. Restaurants should encourage takeaways and avoid dine-in as much as possible, the guidelines have laid down. They should have disposable menus and disposable napkins for dine-in. Though shopping malls would be functional, gaming arcades, children’s play areas, cinema halls inside malls would remain shut. A standard directive is to not assign public dealing frontline work to persons with comorbidities, pregnant women or elderly people.

The guidelines lay down that hotels should offer online forms, contactless check-in and check-outs. Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms, as per guidelines. Room service for guests should be available but all interaction should be over mobiles and room phones. “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,” the guidelines lay down.

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