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MHA Lays Down New Etiquettes, Makes Face Masks Compulsory, Spitting in Public Punishable

A man wearing mask look through the windows of a house in Dharavi, Mumbai, one of Asia's largest slums.

 REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

A man wearing mask look through the windows of a house in Dharavi, Mumbai, one of Asia's largest slums. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

All persons in charge of workplaces are expected to ensure social distancing as per the guidelines issued by MHFW, both within workplaces and in company transport.

New Delhi: With the extension of lockdown for two more weeks starting May 4, the Ministy of Home Affairs on Friday laid down the new etiquette for people to abide by in public spaces. The MHA's latest orders, issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, made it compulsory for people to wear a mask every time they step out of their houses and made spitting in public places punishable.

All persons in charge of public places and transport shall ensure social distancing as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

According to the new guidelines, spitting in public places shall be punishable with fine as prescribed by the state or UT local authority. Also, the consumption of tobacco products in public places is not allowed.

Shops selling liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco must ensure minimum six feet distance from each other, and also make sure that no more than five persons are present at one time at the shop.

For offices, the order states that no organisation or manager shall allow a gathering of five or more persons. The order further states that wearing of face masks must be compulsory and has mandated that the offices have adequate stock of such face covers for the employees.

All persons in charge of workplaces are expected to ensure social distancing as per the guidelines issued by MHFW, both within workplaces and in company transport. Social distancing at workplaces shall be ensured through adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, among other measures.

The workplaces have been ordered to have provisions for thermal screening, sanitisers, preferably with touch-free mechanism, set up at all entry and exit points and common areas. Sufficient quantity of these items must be ensured by the employers. It has also ordered frequent sanitisation of the entire workplace.

Large physical meetings are to be avoided and efforts must be made to identify clinics/hospitals in nearby areas, which are authorised to treat COVID-19 patients and quarantine areas should be earmarked for isolating employees showing symptoms till safely moved to the medical facilities.

The order also makes it mandatory for the employees of government and private organisations to use Aarogya Setu app.

Further, it states that there must be arrangements for transport facilities ensuring social distance and there must be intensive communication and training on good hygiene practices.

The order further directs pregnant women, persons above 65 years of age and children below ten years of age to stay at home.

The government has also restricted the number of people allowed to assemble on ocassions like marriages and funeral rites. "Marriages related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum number of guests allowed shall not be more than 50. Funeral/last rites related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum number allowed shall not be 20," it said.

As the death toll due to the coronavirus pandemic rose to 1,152, and the total number of case touched 35,365 cases, the 733 districts across the country have been divided into three zones as per the severity of the cases - Red, Orange and Green.

first published:May 01, 2020, 22:01 IST