Physical distancing has to be maintained, masks are mandatory and sanitisers have to be placed at every entry point.

Centre releases SOP for restaurants malls and religious places What you need to knowImage source: Design for Health via Flickr
Coronavirus Coronavirus Thursday, June 04, 2020 - 22:09

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for restaurants, shopping malls and religious places as they gear up to open under the Centre's ‘Unlock 1’ plan. 

On Thursday, the Centre said that in all three places, physical distancing is compulsory and has advised that persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 remain at home.


At restaurants, the Centre said that takeaways would be encouraged, instead of dine-in; it has advised delivery personnel to leave the packet at the customer's door. Thermal screening and sanitiser dispensers will be mandatory at the entrance of all restaurants. 

“Only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed. All staff and patrons are allowed entry only if using face cover/masks, which has to be worn at all times inside the restaurant,” the guidelines state.

Besides posters on preventive measures about COVID-19 being displayed, the Centre asked management to stagger patrons if possible and deploy adequate manpower to ensure physical distancing at parking lots as well. 

In case of valet parking, “a proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be taken up.”

“Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate physical distancing is maintained. In restaurants, not more than 50 percent of seating capacity is permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged,” the guidelines add. 

Stating that the number of people in elevators should be restricted, the guidelines highlight that large gatherings and congregations continue to remain prohibited. Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) is also to be encouraged.

Shopping malls

In shopping malls too, only asymptomatic visitors shall be allowed, that too, with a face mask. 

“Proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises – duly following physical distancing norms shall be ensured,” the guidelines state. This includes any shops, stalls, cafeteria etc. outside and within the premises.

“Preferably separate entry and exits for visitors, workers and goods/supplies shall be organised. Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the shopping mall shall be ensured. Proper queue management and disinfection shall be organised,” the guidelines added.

There will be restrictions on the number of customers inside a shop and in elevators. 

In food courts, not more than 50 percent of seating capacity is permitted. Gaming arcades will remain closed and tables will be sanitised each time a customer leaves. 

Cinema halls inside shopping malls shall also remain closed. 

Religious places

Places of worship will also have to make similar arrangements. 

“Footwear to be preferably taken off inside one's own vehicle. If needed, they should be kept in separate slots for each individual/family by the persons themselves,” the guidelines state. 

Advising separate entry and exits if possible, the Centre recommended that a distance of six feet between each person was necessary.

“Seating arrangement to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. Touching of statues/idols/holy books etc. not to be allowed. In view of the 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 state.

“Common prayer mats should be avoided, and devotees should bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them. No physical offerings like ‘prasad’ distribution or sprinkling of holy water, etc to be allowed,” they add.