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Home / Cities / Malls to reopen in city by next week, to follow strict social distancing norms

Malls to reopen in city by next week, to follow strict social distancing norms

cities Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 00:01 IST

Gurugram: Malls in Gurugram will reopen next week, three months after they were closed in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the district administration said on Friday.

The city’s municipal commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said the malls will have to enforce social distancing norms and adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) laid down by the Union health ministry. Violation of norms will invite strict action against such establishments and these are liable to be closed again, he said.

“It has been decided that malls will be allowed to open next week and they will have to follow the SOP issued on June 4. All norms pertaining to social distancing will have to be strictly followed,” said Singh, who was addressing a joint press conference with deputy commissioner Amit Khatri.

However, officials did not specify a date when malls would reopen.

Cinema halls, gaming arcades and children play areas shall remain closed inside the malls as per SOP, Singh said.

Barring Faridabad and Gurugram, malls and religious places were allowed to open in Haryana June 8 onwards.

Given the rising number of Covid 19 cases, the state government had on June 7 decided against opening shopping malls and religious places in these two districts.

Restaurants and hotels across the state were also allowed to open, with some restrictions in place, across the state from June 8.

Religious places in Gurugram shall remain closed till further orders, Singh said on Friday.

He warned that shopping malls found flouting social distancing regulations and SOPs would be penalised, and the establishments shut.

As per the Centre’s guidelines, visitors as well as staff at shopping malls must ensure distancing of six feet as far as possible, wear masks at all times, and wash hands frequently.

Additionally, mall authorities must ensure hand sanitisers and provisions for thermal screening are made available at entrances. Malls have also been asked to ensure only those people who show no symptoms of Covid-19 are allowed entry, and they must wear masks throughout.

The directions also said older employees, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions should be engaged in work from home “wherever feasible”.

The SOP also reads that malls must follow the Central Public Work Department’s norms for air-conditioning and ventilation, and temperature and humidity should be kept above 24 degree Celsius and 40 to 70% respectively.

Shopping malls operators welcomed the decision and said they had already prepared a detailed SOP to ensure the safety of visitors.

Vijay Aima, vice president of Ambience Group which operates the Ambience Mall, said steps have been taken to ensure visitors are thermally screened, sanitiser dispensers have been installed and markings made to ensure social distancing. “Only those visitors who wear a mask and have temperature under the permissible limit will be allowed entry,” he said.

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