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Assam’s new COVID-19 SOPs: Here’s what’s allowed and what’s not

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GUWAHATI: Assam’s chief secretary Jisnu Barua is all set to announce a new set of rules and restrictions to control the outbreak of the novel coronavirus” as it has been observed that there is a gradual increase in COVID-19 positive cases” across the state.

A draft copy of the new standard operating procedure (SOP) has reached InsideNE. Barua is all set to formally announce the new set of restrictions at a presser later in the afternoon today. The new set of rules, which will be applicable till April 30 next, are as under:

 

On gatherings, the notice said that open functions will be allowed “with the permission of the District Authority subject to strict adherence to COVID appropriate behavior, including wearing face mask, maintaining respiratory etiquette, practicing hand hygiene through frequent hand washing or hand sanitizers, and maintain social distancing. While granting such permission, District Authority will assess the public bearing capacity of the open space and allow gathering of only 50% of its capacity or 400 persons. whichever is lower.”

In closed venues, gatherings up to 50% of the seating capacity shall be allowed.

No standing audience shall be allowed in open/closed venues.

The number of guests in private functions at private venues including marriages shall be restricted to 100 persons.

In funeral gatherings, not more than 20 persons shall be allowed for each deceased.

Religious places of worship should be allowed to be operated with 20 persons per hour, except the iconic religious places where it can be 50 persons per hour, says the notice.

The notice also says that all market places, supermarkets, shops in the malls, and the weekly market should be closed by 6.00 pm.

 

In the near future, working from home and virtual working shall be encouraged.

Except for officers, only 50% of employees can work from the office. However, this will not be applicable for organizations rendering essential services, law enforcement services, and election work.

Meetings in the official chambers to be discouraged.

Pregnant women employees and women with children of 5 years or below irrespective of their grade shall be allowed to work from home.

Furthermore, the administration has urged for the arrangement of social distancing at the places of work.

Frequent sanitization of the entire workplace, common facilities, and all points which come into human contact should be carried out.

All Educational Institutions including schools, colleges, and universities have been urged to provide quality virtual options.

ALSO READ: Assam records 1367 fresh COVID-19 cases, biggest single-day spike of 2021

Not more than 50% of students should attend in person on any day.

Schools should stagger class timings so that large-scale release of students doesn’t arise.

There will be no morning assembly/special assembly etc. in the educational institutions.

Preference to be given on online mode of teaching for primary classes.

Education Department will issue detailed guidelines for uninterrupted education service keeping in view of the COVID-19 precautionary measures

All public transport authorities shall enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior and seating inside the vehicles, carriers, containers, etc.

Auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers maintaining social distancing.

City buses, intra-district, inter-district, and inter-state buses will be allowed to operate with 50% of seating capacity.

No passenger shall be allowed to travel standing in the vehicle.

Wearing of mask and observance of COVID-19 appropriate behavior will be mandatory for all passengers.

Wearing of face mask is compulsory in all public places.

Shop owners shall ensure a minimum of six feet distance among customers and shall not allow more than 5 persons inside the shop. In addition, shop owners should compulsorily keep sanitizers and hand wash in their shops.

Shopkeepers and customers shall have to wear masks, hand gloves and maintain social distancing.

Barbershops, salons, and parlors shall continue to provide service with strict compliance of COVID-19 appropriate behavior such as wearing face masks, face cover, hand gloves.

Industrial units and tea gardens may function subject to observance of COVID appropriate behaviour. The Head of the unit/tea garden shall be responsible for
ensuring social distancing, mask-wearing by workers and staff, sanitization of industrial premises, thermal scanning, etc.

Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Sec. 188 of IPC and other legal provisions as applicable.

Any person not wearing a face mask and found spitting in public places shall be fined to the tune of Rs. 1000.

Deputy Commissioners will enforce the aforesaid order strictly and effectively for those districts where the number of active COVID-19 patients rises to 100 or more.

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