The Union Health Ministry on Thursday issued the Standard Operating Procedure to stop the spread of the coronavirus in places of worship, malls, restaurants, hotels and offices, as part of “Unlock 1” of a three-phase plan to lift the nationwide lockdown.

The government also issued a general set of instructions that are to be followed everywhere. Under this, masks are mandatory at all public places and spitting is strictly prohibited. A physical distance of six feet between persons as far as feasible is encouraged and people have been asked to wash their hands at regular intervals, while following all respiratory etiquettes. As part of self-monitoring of health, people are also advised to download the Aarogya Setu app.

Any kind of large gathering at any of the public places continues to be prohibited.

This comes after India extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8. The first phase of the ease on the lockdown, called Unlock 1, will restrict curbs to containment zones – areas that have been isolated due to coronavirus outbreaks. The new guidelines also gives states more power to decide and strategise lockdown implementations locally.

Here’s a look at the main guidelines:

Shopping malls

1. All gaming arcades, children play areas, cinema halls inside shopping malls will remain closed.

2. Use of face covers/masks is mandatory.

3. Only asymptomatic customers will be allowed entry into the premises and staggering of visitors must be done as much as possible.

4. All employees who are at higher risk such as older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions are to take extra precautions.

5. Use of escalators with one person on alternate steps may be encouraged.

Read the full order here


1. Only asymptomatic staff and customers shall be allowed in the restaurants and masks are mandatory at all times.

2. All entrances must have mandatory sanitiser dispensers and thermal screening provisions. Takeaways are to be encouraged instead of dine-in as much as possible.

3. Restaurant operators are prohibited from directly handing over a takeaway order to the customer. Disposable menus are advised.

4. Seating arrangement is to be made in such a way that adequate social distancing is maintained. In restaurants, not more than 50% of seating capacity will be permitted.

5. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the restaurant authorities before they go to deliver the order. All employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, are to take extra precautions.

Read the full order here

Places of worship

  1. Shoes and other footwear to be preferably taken off inside own vehicle. If needed they should be kept in separate slots for each individual, or a family by the persons themselves.
  2. Common prayer mats should be avoided and devotees should bring their own prayer mat or piece of cloth which they may take back with them
  3. No physical offerings like prasad distribution or sprinkling of holy water to be allowed inside the religious place.
  4. In view of potential threat of spread of infection, as far as feasible recorded devotional music or songs may be played and choir or singing groups should not be allowed.
  5. Touching of statues, idols or holy books or any other artifact will not to be allowed.

Read full order here


  1. Any officer and staff residing in containment zone should inform the same to supervisory officer and not attend the office till containment zone is denotified. Such staff should be permitted to work from home and it will not be counted as leave period.
  2. Advise all employees who are at higher risk i.e. older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions, to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the public. Office management to facilitate work from home wherever feasible.
  3. Routine issue of visitors/temporary passes should be suspended and visitors with proper permission of the officer who they want to meet, should be allowed after being properly screened.Meetings, as far as feasible, should be done through video conferencing.
  4. Number of people in the elevators shall be restricted, duly maintaining social distancing norms.
  5. When one or few persons who share a room or a close office space is found to be suffering from symptoms suggestive of Covid-19, place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace. Provide a mask/face cover till such time they are examined by a doctor. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.

Read full order here.

Hotels and other hospitality units

  1. Details of the guest such as the travel history and medical condition, along with their identity card and self declaration form must be provided by the guest at the reception.
  2. Luggage should be disinfected before sending the luggage to rooms. Hand sanitisers must be kept at the reception for guests to use. Guests to sanitise hands before and after filling relevant forms including A&D register.
  3. Hotels must adopt contactless processes like QR code, online forms, digital payments like e-wallet etc. for both check-in and check-out.
  4. Room service or takeaways to be encouraged, instead of dine-in. Food delivery personnel should leave the packet at guest or customer’s door and not handed directly to the receiver. The staff for home deliveries shall be screened thermally by the hotel authorities prior to allowing home deliveries.
  5. For room service, communication between guests and in-house staff should be through intercom/ mobile phone and room service (if any) should be provided while maintaining adequate social distance.

Read full order here