The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Friday issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening of hotels, and operation of weekly markets on a trial basis.
The order allows for hotels and hospitality units outside containment zones to reopen with “generic preventive measures” and specific safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It states that only asymptomatic guests and staff are to be allowed, and they must wear a face cover or mask “at all times inside the hotel”. Guests will also be required to provide details of their travel history, medical condition, IDs and self-declaration forms at the hotel reception.
Hotels were allowed to reopen this week, with the Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal’s office resolving their differences on the issue.
Addressing representatives of hotel associations in a meeting on Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We have two challenges — how to end the spread of the pandemic, and revive the economy of Delhi as businesses have been shut and jobs have been lost. I want to thank the entire hotel industry because when corona was at its peak in Delhi, we had attached hotels to hospitals to increase the capacity of beds… We received huge support from the hotel industry.”
He said the Centre was against reopening of hotels but this was pushed for by the Delhi government to revive the economy: “The Centre was against the idea of opening hotels in Delhi. I would not blame them as the Centre must have thought cases might rise again. But I explained to them that hotels are functioning in areas where cases are rising in the country. Either the Centre should shut hotels down across the country or open it in regions where the situation is under control.”
Among the sanitary processes that hotels will be required to follow include disinfecting luggage before sending to rooms; use of contactless processes like QR codes, online forms and digital payments; sanitising rooms and service areas after each guest leaves; regular deep cleaning of washrooms; separate entry and exit for guests, staff, and supplies.
Hotels are to encourage room service and takeaways as opposed to dining in restaurants. Specific guidelines for hotels and restaurants include socially-distanced seating, disposable menus and paper napkins, and digital payment.
If a suspected or positive Covid case is reported on the premises, they are to be isolated, referred to the nearest medical facility, followed by a risk assessment by the designated public health authority and disinfection.
Orders were also issued to “open one weekly market per day per zone in all three municipal corporations/ New Delhi Municipal Council/ Delhi Cantonment Board on trial basis for a week” from September 24-30. They shall be allowed to operate from 4 pm to 10 pm, with a distance of six feet between two stalls and not more than two people operating one stall. Buyers will also have to bring their own bags and not more than two will be allowed to be at a stall at a time.
On Friday, the government also issued an order to wind up operations in banquet halls functioning as healthcare facilities and linked to designated Covid hospitals.
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