Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issues SoPs for hotels and restaurants

The SoP's recommends the installation and use of Aarogya Setuapp to all

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Standard operating procedures (SoPs), Standard operating procedures for hotels, Contacless solutions

As hotels and restaurants across India are prepping up for post-lockdown operations starting from June 8th, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has released the much-awaited standard operating procedures (SoPs) to restrict any further transmission of COVID-19.

The SoPs aims to minimize all possible physical contacts between staff and guests and maintain social distancing. It also outlines various generic precautionary measures to be adopted in addition to specific measures to be ensured in hotels and other hospitality units to prevent spread of COVID-19.

The ministry asked employees who are at higher risk -- like older staff members or those who are pregnant or 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.Hotel management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible," it said.

Some other measures include:

  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.
  • Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.
  • Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used tissues properly.
  • Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.
  • Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
  • Installation and use of Aarogya Setuapp shall be advised to all.

All hotels shall ensure the following arrangements:

  • Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.  Guests should ensure to sanitize hands before and after filling relevant forms including A&D register.
  • Only asymptomatic staff and guests shall be allowed.
  • All staff and guests to be allowed entry only if using face cover/masks. The face cover/masks has to be worn at all times inside the hotel.
  • Appropriate personal protection gears like face covers/masks, gloves and hand sanitizers etc.shall be made available by hotel to the staff as well as the guests.Proper disposal of face covers / masks / gloves left over by guests and/or staff should be ensured.
  • Adequate manpower shall be deployed by hotel management for ensuring social distancing norms.
  • Staff should additionally wear gloves and take other required precautionary measures.
  • Proper crowd management in the hotel as well as in outside premises like parking lots–duly following social distancing norms shall be ensured. Large gatherings/congregations continue to remain prohibited.
  • Valet parking, if available, shall be operational with operating staff wearing face covers/ masks and gloves as appropriate. A proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be taken up.
  • Preferably separate entry and exits for guests, staff and goods/supplies shall be organized. Maintaining physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, when queuing up for entry and inside the hotel as far as feasible. Specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises.
  • Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms. Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged.
  • Details of the guest (travel history, medical condition etc.) along with ID and self-declaration form must be provided by the guest at the reception.
  • Posters/standees/AV media on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.
  • Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in and check-out.
  • Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms.
  • Guests should be advised not to visit areas falling with in containment zone
  • Required precautions while handling supplies, inventories and goods in the hotel shall be ensured. Proper queue management and disinfection shall be organized.
  • Gaming Arcades/Children play areas (wherever applicable) shall remain closed.
  • For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

Sanitisation measures:

  • Effective and frequent sanitation within the premises shall be maintained with
  • particular focus on lavatories, drinking and hand washing stations/areas.
  • Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) to be made mandatory in all guest service area and common areas.
  • Deep cleaning of all washrooms shall be ensured at regular intervals.
  • Rooms and other service area shall be sanitized each time a guest leaves.
  • In the kitchen, the staff should follow social distancing norms at work place. Kitchens area must be sanitized at regular intervals.

Detailed guidelines issued for restaurants include:

  • Seating arrangement in the restaurant also to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained.
  • Disposable menus are advised to be used.
  • Tables to be sanitized each time customer leaves.
  • Instead of cloth napkins, use of good quality disposable paper napkins to be encouraged.
  • Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment (using e-wallets) to be encouraged.
  • Buffet service should also follow social distancing norms among guests.
  • Room service or takeaways to be encouraged, instead of dine-in.
  • Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at guest or customer’s door and not handed directly to the receiver. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the hotel authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
  • For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through intercom/ mobile phone and room service (if any) should be provided while maintaining adequate social distance.
  • For detailed guideline on restaurants, click here

In case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises:

  • Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
  • Provide a mask/face cover till such time he/she is examined by a doctor.
  • Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.
  • A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.
  • Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.

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