With malls being allowed to open from next week, the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday issued the SOP on preventive measures there to contain spread of COVID-19, saying only asymptomatic customers will be allowed with masks and entrances will have sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening.
Noting shopping malls get frequented by a large number of people for shopping, entertainment and food, it said: “To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that required social distancing and other preventive measures are followed,”
Shopping malls in containment zones will remain closed, and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.
According to the ministry, the generic measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and these “need to be observed by all (workers and visitors) in these places at all times”.
Physical distancing of at least 6 feet, use of face covers and masks and frequent hand washing and use of Aarogya Setu app was advised to all.
Spitting will be strictly prohibited, the guidelines said.
“All employees who are at a higher risk — older, pregnant and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public.”
The Ministry said the shopping mall management must facilitate work from home wherever feasible.
It said preferably separate entry and exits for visitors, workers and goods/supplies should be organised.
“The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the shopping mall authorities prior to allowing home delivery.”
Also, the number of people in the elevators should be restricted, while “Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged”.
The guidelines also bar large gatherings or congregations, gaming arcades and Children Play areas along with cinema halls inside the malls.
“Persons above 65 years of age, with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes,” they said.