Mission Begin Again: Maharashtra govt to soon issue SOPs for gyms and malls

Mumbai: Setting foot inside a mall or a gym is going to be an altogether new experience for patrons once the state government allows these places to reopen. No crowding and social distancing will be the new normal. The state government and operators of gyms and malls have exchanged Standard Operating Procedures to be followed once these establishments are functional. After these are finalised, the government is expected to issue guidelines under Mission Begin Again.

Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said the government was mulling the reopening of gyms and malls by adhering to social distancing and other norms. The Free Press Journal is in possession of the SOPs for gyms and malls.

As far as malls are concerned, employees who join at the time of reopening will provide a declaration on their health status and recent travel history. Meetings with the vendors and contractors will have to be scheduled via teleconference or online.

The visitor/contractor will also have to submit the self-declaration. The visitor's self-screening checklist forbids visits by persons who have had known exposure to Covid-19 patients in the past 21 days, or to those exhibiting symptoms of illness consistent with the pandemic. Two health wardens will be deployed on each floor and atrium to ensure compliance with social distancing and the provision of no-touch attendance. For the moment, there should be no biometric attendance, nor will there be physical frisking.

Infiniti Malls CEO Mukesh Kumar, who is also the chairman of the Shopping Centres Association of India’s SOP Committee, told The Free Press Journal, ‘’ We have undertaken several measures to maintain safety and hygiene, like implementation of technology to supplement, and in some cases, to replace manual intervention. These include the installation and use of thermal devices to check the temperature of visitors, automated dispensers for hand sanitisers, the use of density counting equipment to keep a real-time check on the number of people in the mall and frequent sanitisation of handrails of escalators.’’ He said these have been some of the foremost priorities, in addition to the guidelines issued by the government.

SOP for gyms

Peak and non-peak hour attendance will be pre-determined by booking of time slots on a first come-first serve basis, temperature checks will be mandatory, members will have to carry quick-dry towels and will be monitored to ensure no-touch interactions.

Self-sanitising of equipment after use will be encouraged, even as housekeeping will keep a close eye on cleaning equipment in between uses. No member will be entertained without pre-booking and Aarogya Setu screenshot sharing protocols.

For staff, the gym operator will plan staff work schedules so as to minimise their exposure. Fresh safety equipment will be provided daily to the staff. The gym operator will provide PPE kits for reusable items and no-touch policies will be strictly followed.

Trainers will be offered limited sessions per day via pre-booking. There will be fresh safety gear supplied and sanitisation between sessions.

As far as group classes are concerned, pre- booking will be mandatory, as per studio capacity. Personal trainers can use space to train their clients without obstructing the training of other members.

The founding member of the Gym Owners Association of India, Prabodh Davkhare, said the gym would reserve the right to entertain personnel based on adherence to safety protocols. "Members deviating from safety norms of temperature-tracking or not adhering to social distancing or no-touch policy will be removed from the Centre, to ensure the health and well-being of other members. Numbers of government authorised hospitals, other health and safety organisation nearby will be listed in visible spaces, in case medical assistance is required,’’ he noted.

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Free Press Journal