Govt issues fresh guidelines, marketplaces to remain shut in containment zones. Check full list

Govt issues fresh guidelines, marketplaces to remain shut in containment zones. Check full list

The government on Monday issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for markets in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The document released by the government outlines various precautionary measures in addition to specific measures to be taken at marketplaces. The guidelines will be applicable in both retail and wholesale markets. Market places in containment zones shall remain closed, the Union Ministry of Health said. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open-up, it mentioned.


Protecting vulnerable populations

Persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.

Market Owners Associations shall be advised accordingly. Employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions must take extra precautions. The Market Associations shall be advised that such persons should not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public.

Promoting COVID Appropriate Behaviour

Simple public health measures are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed at all times by shop and establishment owners, visitors, and workers.

These measures include:

i. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.

ii. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.

iii. 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 outside shops and other places wherever feasible.

iv. 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.

v. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and
district helpline.

vi. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.

vii. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.

Maintaining healthy environment at marketplaces

In normal times, markets are usually crowded with high footfalls, suffer from lack of adequate sanitation amenities and have poor hygiene conditions. To prevent the risk of transmission of COVID, it is crucial that healthy environment is maintained at marketplaces. This includes:

i. Prior to resumption of daily activities, all work areas inside the shop shall be sanitized (using 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution) by shop owners.

ii. Cleaning and regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs/handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, chairs, table tops, counters, etc.) and floors, walls, etc. to be done before opening of shops, at the end of the day and at other appropriate times.

iii. Entrance to the shops to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) arrangement.

iv. Where cars are repositioned by parking lot employees, proper disinfection of steering, door handles, keys, etc. of the vehicles should be undertaken by the owner before the vehicle is used again.

v. Public utility areas and open spaces shall be sanitized with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution. This shall be done on a regular basis.

vi. Deep cleansing of the toilets, hand washing and drinking water stations shall be done at least 3-4 times daily.

vii. The market associations shall facilitate maintaining healthy environment of public utility areas and open spaces through their own means and through local urban bodies/civic agencies.

Planning for COVID related appropriate behaviour at marketplaces

COVID appropriate behaviour in marketplaces may be self-regulated by Market Associations through a number of measures such as:
i. Creation of a Sub-Committee for each market to facilitate and monitor implementation of COVID appropriate behaviour in marketplaces (within shops
and establishments as well as outside).
ii. Mask dispensing kiosks at Government approved rates may be set up at entry points and parking lots.
iii. Provision of distribution of free masks for those who cannot afford.
iv. Establishing hand washing stations in public utility areas and ensuring availability of soap and water. Use of foot operated taps and contactless soap dispensers is recommended.
v. Providing mass thermal screening provisions at the entry/ access points to the market.
vi. Procuring thermal guns, sanitizers, disinfectants for sanitization of public utility areas.
vii. Placement of IEC materials and signages regarding COVID appropriate behaviour in prominent locations.

Ensuring COVID appropriate behaviour by Enforcement Agencies.

Where self- regulatory approach fails or lacks impact, the planning shall also entail taking enforcement actions, wherever warranted. This may include:
i. Levying of fines/penalties on defaulters for not wearing mask/face cover, or for not following physical distancing norms.
ii. Exploring the option of allowing markets/shops to open on alternate days
iii. Closure of markets in case larger number of cases are getting reported which are
found to be having epidemiological links with the market by the administration.

Planning for ensuring COVID appropriate behaviours by shop owners/utilities operating in the market

Owners shall ensure:
i. Physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet inside and outside the shops/utilities, specific markings on the floor may be made.
ii. Queue management inside and outside the shops/utilities.
iii. They shall deploy sufficient personnel to monitor the queue as per physical distancing norms.
iv. Keep provision of triple layer masks/ face covers for clients entering shops/utilities without masks
v. Provisioning of hand sanitizers at the entry of the shop/establishment for sanitizing the hands of the visitors. Thermal screening provisions, to the extent feasible, for monitoring of body temperature of workers and clients.
vi. Suitable arrangements for contact-less payment, wherever applicable.

Ensuring ventilation

i. As far as feasible, natural ventilation must be ensured and use of small enclosed spaces must be discouraged.
ii. Circulation of outdoor air needs to be increased, as much as possible, by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods.
iii. For air-conditioning/ventilation, of closed enclosures, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-300 C, 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. Air handling unit needs to be cleaned prior to swi…

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