Maharashtra : Health Ministry SOP Directs Restaurants To Keep 1m Distance Between Tables, No Buffets Allowed

Mumbai : The state government has green signal to the reopening of restaurants and bars, but a relaxed lunch with extended family or late evening drinks with a gang of friends may still be some weeks, with a minimum distance of one meter between eating tables mandatory and combining tables disallowed.
Restaurants and bars were shut down for nearly six months, now, the Uddhav Thackeray government on Monday said restaurants and bars would be allowed to reopen from the first week of October. As a precautionary measure, the state has drafted new operational guidelines (SOPs) for their functioning. New guidelines are expected to be issued in a day or two after receiving feedback from restaurateurs.
Here’s how in-room dining experience is expected to change:
* Customers will have to reserve seats beforehand. Once a customer reaches a restaurant, their temperature and Covid-19 symptoms will be checked. They will also be asked to sanitize hands. Masks will be compulsory for entry.
* Restaurants have been strictly asked to avoid crowding. In case anyone is waiting for relatives o r friends, restaurants have been asked to provide them with a separate waiting area compliant with social-distancing norms. Disposable menus or QR codes have been encouraged.
* Restaurants have been asked to avoid buffets in the near future, and if can not avoid, they must ensure social distancing. Pre-plated cooked food will be a priority. Raw and cooked food items are to be kept separate to avoid any cross-contamination. It has been advised that raw food, like salads and cold foods, may not be served as far as possible. Water is to be served from bottles, the outer parts of which are also to be disinfected.
* Food-grade disinfectants are mandatory to wash general crockery, whereas bar counter crockery will have to be washed with hot water and lemon too. Bar counters and kitchen areas should be sanitized regularly. Good quality disposable napkins must be provided instead of cloth napkins. Natural ventilation should be preferred over air-conditioning.
* The guidelines also made masks mandatory for restaurant or café staff members and other protective gears all times. If any staff member shows symptoms of Covid19, then he must be isolated immediately. If a staff member is found positive, the premises will have to be fumigated and deep cleaned immediately and all other staffers will have to be monitored and tested for symptoms. Plexiglass and other transparent barriers must be used for cash counters and other places of interaction.
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