The Maharashtra government on Monday said that hotels and lodges outside containment zones will be open to guests from July 8, but with strict safety measures in place to check the spread of the coronavirus. The government said that the establishments will be allowed to operate at 33% of their capacity.

Hotels and guest houses in Maharashtra have been directed to practice effective crowd management, install thermal scanners at their entrance, disinfect the premises and adopt contactless methods of payment and check-in. The state government’s guidelines for “Mission Begin Again”, a plan to gradually lift lockdown restrictions, also mandate that the hotel staff wear adequate personal protective equipment. Children’s play areas, swimming pools and gymnasium in hotels, however, will remain closed.

The government said that hotels must allow only asymptomatic patients to enter the premises. Hotels have also been directed to sanitise rooms and services areas each time a guest vacates. A room should be left unoccupied for at least 24 hours after a guest checks out, the government said. Customers will also need to install contact-tracing app Aarogya Setu on their phones.

Hotels have also been instructed to restrict the number of guests in elevators and provide them protective equipment like masks and gloves. The government said that housekeeping services should be used by the guests minimally.

The Maharashtra government also directed restaurants to provide e-menus to their customers and use disposable paper napkins.

With 2,06,619 coronavirus cases, including 8,822 deaths, Maharashtra is India’s worst-hit state. Mumbai alone has reported over 84,000 cases.

The Centre is trying to lift more lockdown restrictions in “Unlock 2” while also dealing with a spurt in coronavirus numbers. India’s tally rose to 6,97,413 on Monday, with 24,248 new cases in 24 hours. The toll stood at 19,693. India has now overtaken Russia to become the third worst coronavirus-hit country in the world.

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