Restaurants, religious places, malls, hotels unlock

Restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and religious places on Monday threw their doors open to the public over nearly two and a half months after the COVID-19 induced nationwide lockdown was imposed across the country.

The businesses will, however, have to follow the stringent guidelines issued by the Health Ministry to control the spread of the highly viral disease.

As a part of the ‘Unlock 1’, the Centre has asked religious places, restaurants, malls to thoroughly cleanse the area and adhere to social distancing norms and other protocols.

While entrance to religious places and malls must have hand sanitizer dispensers and thermal screening provisions, not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity is permitted at food courts and restaurants.

In Delhi’s Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Gurbani was recited by Granthis on the opening of religious places on Monday.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also offered prayers at the Gorakhnath temple. He is the head priest of the temple.

With zero footfall, paucity of cash flow, movie theatres and shopping malls were the most affected sectors of the economy in the times of the pandemic

Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Shopping Malls said, “We will be instituting temperature checks at all entrances and setting up protocols for maintaining social distancing and staff.”

Bector said that not more than 3-4 customers will be allowed to enter the elevator at a time; for escalators one customer will be allowed after three steps roll over, permanent distance markers will be placed in the lifts, so people do not exceed the required capacity.

Hospitality was the first economic segment to be hit by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, much before the outbreak was declared a pandemic.

Hotel Association of India’s (HAI) Vice President K.B. Kachru said that hotels across the country are putting in place “Gold” standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure better safety and hygiene in order to contain the spread of the virus.

Restaurants are also treading with caution ahead of reopening the outlets. The ministry also asked the restaurant owners to encourage a contactless mode of ordering and digital payments using e-wallets.

Not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity is permitted. Disposable menus are advised to be used. Restaurants have also been asked to encourage takeaways instead of dine-ins.

All staff who are at higher risk, i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and those who have underlying medical conditions, have been asked to take extra precautions.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also said that the places of worship and restaurants in the national capital will be allowed to reopen, however, he specified that hotels and banquet halls will remain closed.

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