Concerned over the rising Covid positivity rate in the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to crack down on restaurants and malls over violation of guidelines issued to check the spread of the pandemic.
“There have been a lot of complaints that eating joints and malls are not following guidelines…The civic body has issued standard operating procedures (SoP) for them, but rules are being violated. Thus, the PMC has set up squads to make surprise visits to these places and seal them if violations are noticed,” said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar.
Kumar said there are 15 squads, one each for 15 ward offices, and that they would start visiting all eateries and malls in the city.
Common SoPs for eateries and malls include frequent sanitising of the premises, ensuring mandatory use of masks by staff and customers, and screening everyone before allowing entry using thermal scanning and oxymetres.
Eateries have been issued additional guidelines to change seating arrangements to ensure sufficient gaps between tables, along with sanitising frequently, ensuring cleanliness in the kitchen, and sufficient ventilation in the premises.
The SoP for malls also includes ensuring proper ventilation, in addition to banning the use of changing rooms, discouraging customers from frequently touching goods, and not allowing crowding within the premises.
Earlier, the PMC had undertaken a drive against shopkeepers after they were permitted to open stores. The civic administration penalised store owners found violating guidelines.
The civic administration recently also closed the Sarasbaug garden after people were found violating guidelines which stated that no entry would be given to senior citizens and children below the age of 10, and that sitting and gathering were not allowed in the area, which is only meant for jogging and walking. The civic body had been warning citizens that the garden would close if rules were not followed.
Since last week, the PMC has been witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases, with the positivity rate reaching 14 per cent post Diwali. The active case count on Tuesday crossed the 5,000 mark, after it had dropped close to 4,000 on November 17.
Meanwhile, the civic administration has been finalising the mechanism to implement the new state government guidelines for those entering Maharashtra from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa. The government has made it mandatory for people coming in from these states to undertaking Covid-19 tests before arriving, or to take them at entry points like airports and railway stations. “A meeting with Pune Airport officials and Railway officials was held to discuss how to implement these guidelines,” Kumar said.
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