Health Ministry Issues New SOPs On Preventive Measures In Markets

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued SOPs on preventive measures in markets to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry said that market places are visited by large number of people for their daily needs, shopping, entertainment,and food, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with gradual opening of economic activities, markets are witnessing high footfalls. It added that such large gatherings, without observance of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour have the potential to spread the coronavirus disease.

The guidelines issued by the ministry shall be applicable to both retail and wholesale markets. Under the fresh SOPs, market places in containment zones will remain closed. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open-up.

The Health Ministry also laid out some rules for promoting COVID Appropriate behaviour. The measures include:
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.
  • Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline.
  • Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
  • Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App shall be advised to all.
For maintaining a healthy environment at market places, the ministry adviced shop owners to follow these practices:
  • Prior to resumption of daily activities, all work areas inside the shop shall be sanitized (using 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution) by shop owners.
  • Cleaning and regular disinfection of frequentlytouched surfaces (door knobs/handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, chairs, table tops, counters, etc.) andfloors,walls,etc.tobedonebeforeopeningof shops, at the end of the day and at other appropriate times.
  • Entrance tothe shopsto have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser)arrangement.
  • 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.
  • Public utility areas and open spaces shall be sanitized with 1% Sodium Hypochlorite solution. This shall be done on a regular basis.
  • Deep cleansing of the toilets, hand washing and drinking water stations shall be done at least 3-4 times daily.
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, the ministry said.

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