Health Ministry issues guidelines for reopening of entertainment parks

At the entry and exit points, the Health Ministry advised that hand hygiene and thermal screening should be mandatory, multiple gates should be used for entry and exit and only asymptomatic persons should be allowed in the premises.
Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi, Oct 8 : The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday issued the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed in entertainment parks and similar places in areas outside the containment zones to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Even though swimming pools have been directed to remain closed, water themed entertainment parks and water rides would remain open. Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes were permitted to open with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity from October 15 under the latest reopening plans in a bid to kickstart the economy.

The ministry said that the entertainment parks and similar places are frequented by a large number of people for leisure and entertainment and hence to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it is important that required physical distancing and other preventive measures are followed.

According to the guidelines, prior to the resumption of activities, all work areas, public utility areas and open spaces, including but not limited to rides, museums, gardens, food courts, gift shops, theatres etc., would have to be sanitised. Theatres will only allow 50 per cent of their seating capacity duly ensuring physical distancing norms.

Cleaning and regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces like door knobs or handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, slides, chairs, tabletops, benches, washroom fixtures, floors, walls etc. will be done before opening of entertainment park, at the end of the day and at other appropriate times.

“Provisions to be made for multiple hand washing stations and hand sanitisers for the use of public. Provision of soap in toilets and hand sanitisers in other common areas in sufficient quantity must be ensured. Deep cleaning of all drinking and hand washing stations, washrooms, showers and lavatories shall be ensured,” the guidelines said.

It added, “Swimming pools, wherever applicable, shall remain closed. Water themed entertainment parks and water rides shall ensure adequate and regular water filtration and chlorination as per the laid down standards. Staggered timing and regulation of physical numbers on these rides must be ensured.”

With an aim to protect the vulnerable population, the government has advised persons above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years to stay at home.

“Employees who are at higher risk, i.e., older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions must take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public,” it added.

The guidelines further alluded to the importance of ensuring physical distancing inside and outside the premises, for which it advised that specific markings be made on the floor.

Similarly, physical distancing shall also be maintained in office areas and common utility areas. There will be queue management inside and outside the premises. Enough personnel will be deployed to monitor the queue and physical distancing.

For crowd management, the ministry directed that the density planning should be done to factor-in requirements for these peak days, provision for online tickets must be encouraged, the tickets sold shall be commensurate with the floor area per person that is required for fulfilling the physical distancing norms.

“Entry of visitors with tickets to be monitored to ensure that the number of visitors inside the entertainment park at any given time doesn’t exceed the permissible limit. CCTV monitoring shall be ensured to detect crowding at any ride or food court etc.,” the guidelines added.

In a bid to ensure proper ventilations in enclosed spaces such as theatres, the government has advised that the temperature setting of all air-conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent and intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.

“The air handling unit needs to be cleaned prior to switching on,” it added.

The guidelines further stated that for safe rides in the entertainment parks, common touched surfaces of the ride equipment should be disinfected before commencing the ride, visitors shall sanitise their hands before and after using the rides and physical distance must be ensured during the rides.

“In food courts and restaurants, not more than 50 per cent of seating capacity is permitted. The seating arrangement should ensure adequate physical distancing. Food court staff and waiters should wear masks and hand gloves and take other required precautionary measures.

“Contactless mode of ordering and digital mode of payment to be encouraged. Tables to be sanitised each time a customer leaves. In the kitchen, the staff should follow physical distancing norms,” the guidelines said.

At the entry and exit points, the Health Ministry advised that hand hygiene and thermal screening should be mandatory, multiple gates should be used for entry and exit and only asymptomatic persons should be allowed in the premises.

“Management staff, employees and visitors living in containment zones shall not be allowed entry in entertainment parks and other similar places. All employees and visitors to be allowed entry only if using face cover and masks,” the guidelines added.

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