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Govt releases new SOPs for hotels & restaurants

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released SOPs on preventive measures to be taken in hotels and hospitality units to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consequently, hospitality providers can commence operations outside the containment zones from June 8 with standard operating procedures (SOPs) prescribed by the ministry.

Some of the measures suggested by the ministry include maintaining physical distancing of at least six feet as far as feasible, compulsory use of face masks and strictly following respiratory etiquettes and reporting any illness at the earliest on state and district helplines besides the advice on installing and using the Aarogya Setu app.

Further, according to the guidelines, the sector has to ensure that only asymptomatic staff and guests are allowed inside the hotel premises; mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening provisions at the entrance; separate entry and exits for guests, staff and goods/supplies; deployment of adequate manpower to maintain social distancing norms. Further, employees at higher risk-employees with underlying medical conditions, pregnant employees and those who are older- to any front line work shall not be exposed to the site.

These guidelines have been developed in consultation with central ministries and departments and other stakeholders. The ministry has given autonomy to the respective states and union territories to develop and implement their own protocols, which may be sterner as per their assessment of the situation.