COVID-19 in Maharashtra: State releases SOPs for restaurants & bars
BL Soni

Two days before the reopening of hotels, food courts, restaurants and bars with 50 per cent capacity, the Maharashtra government released COVID-19 compliance standard operating procedures (SOPs) and called upon various associations to spread awareness for its effective implementation. The SOPs were released by the Tourism Department Principal Secretary Valsa Nair Singh. The onus will now be on the operating hotels, food courts, restaurants and bars to strive for improvements towards hygiene and safety.

As per the SOPs, the modification of restaurant and bar layout is needed to keep minimum one metre distance between tables. Guest service areas shall be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectants before and after every shift. The furniture and fixtures of the restaurant and dining facilities like tables, chairs, work stations, buffet tables and linen need to be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectants on a daily basis. Buffet service is not permitted.

Those visiting are expected to make prior reservations. After this, restaurants must not exceed in pre-informed numbers or allow any sort of deviation in the number of persons. As per the SOPs, stationary menu boards, electronic menus or mobile device downloadable menus should be considered.

In case of food delivery, the concerned personnel should leave the packet at the customer's door and they are not supposed to handover the food directly to the customer. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.

Training programmes shall be conducted for the staff to ensure social distance is maintained and reinforce appropriate cleaning, disinfection and hygiene procedures and adopted measures that could protect tourists and staff while on duty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for at least 20 seconds can be made wherever feasible while good quality disposable hand gloves and masks should be used by staff of food and beverage units.

Further, bar counters and stools need to be sanitised properly and bar equipment like shakers, blenders, mixers and peg measurers need to be cleaned. It would be useful to use an Autoclave machine for all cooking equipment and ladles.

Timings of staff canteen, lockers and changing rooms for the staff have to be strategically designed to reduce assembly of people and technology solutions must be implemented to decrease person to person interaction.

In case of an infected staff, the entire premises should be put under deep cleaning and fumigation. All the staff members should be tested for COVID-19 and monitored for symptoms.

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