50% seating, disposable menus, say govt's SOPs for restaurants. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 4 : Restaurants, opening up in non-containment zone areas from next week, have been asked to keep seating to half their capacity to ensure social distancing, and ensure necessary hygiene to contain spread of Covid-19, as per the Standard Operating Procedures issued by the government on Thursday.

As per the SOPs from the Union Health Ministry, only asymptomatic staff and patrons shall be allowed, and entrance will have mandatory hand hygiene - sanitiser dispensers, and thermal screening provisions.

"Restaurants in containment zones shall remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up," it said.

The restaurants should also display posters, standees and audio-visual media on preventive measures for Covid-19 prominently.

The Health Ministry also advised the restaurants to ensure six feet distance in sitting arrangements and mandated to ensure use of face masks and face covers, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette for all the staff members and patrons.

As per the SOPs, "not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity to be permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used." Installing Aarogya Setu app is also advised as per the SOP.

The restaurants also shall ensure deep cleaning of all washrooms and sanitisation of kitchen area at regular intervals.

The Ministry also said that instead of dine-in, restaurants should encourage takeaways. "Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at the customer's door. Do not hand over the food packet directly to the customer," it said.

The SOPs also said that all employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, are to take extra precautions. "They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public. Restaurant management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible," the guidelines said.

The ministry said that the restaurants shall ensure crowd management in the parking lots and outside their premises in order to ensure social distancing.

The SOPs also said that the number of people in the elevators shall be restricted.

"Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes. Restaurant management to advise accordingly," the SOPs said.

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