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LIVING WITH COVID: Kashmir readies for unlock as Govt comes up with ‘new normal’ etiquettes

Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Wear masks, maintain social distancing, resume activities

Srinagar: Staying indoors is a passé and taking COVID 19 head-on is the new mantra of Jammu and Kashmir government.

With lockdown being relaxed, the government has issued dos and do nots for people to keep infection at bay and resume normal activities albeit with precautions.

From using reusable masks to a greeting without any physical contact and from thermal screening to sanitizing commonly used surfaces, the government has come up with detailed guidelines for people visiting public parks, offices, banks, and malls.

Titled `New Normal Etiquettes’, the government has asked shopkeepers and mall managers to regularly sanitize the commonly used surfaces including counters, switchboards, doorknobs, and premises.

“Mall management to ensure all common areas including elevators and toilets are sanitized regularly. Mall management should ensure the provision of thermal screening at the entry point. Ensure proper arrangement for disposal of facemasks and gloves, ensure buyers do not touch any items of commodities and do no entertain any buy not wearing a mask,” read the guidelines.

Government employees resumed work in offices last week (Photo KM/Umar Ganie)

Welcoming the guidelines, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) assured the government of following dos and do nots in letter and spirit.

“Business fraternity wants relaxation without compromising on the guidelines. It is a matter of our survival. We are a responsible trade body. We have urged the government to issue guidelines. We have assured them we will follow the guidelines in letter and spirit,” said Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, KCCI president.

Though the schools and colleges will continue to remain shut, the government has come up with guidelines for the students and teachers in an apparent bid to prepare them for the new normal.

A kirana seller in Srinagar (Photo: KM/Umar Ganie)

“Do not gather in large numbers in the canteen or other common places. Do not touch your face or mask from the front. Do not spit in the open. Spitting in public places is a punishable offence. Avoid sharing personal belongings with others. Do not discriminate against anyone. Voice out against any form of rumors/fake news regarding COVID 19,” read the guidelines.

The government has also issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for offices to contain the infection. Under the SOP, the entrance of office shall have mandatory sanitizer dispenser and thermal screening provisions.

City-centre Lal Chowk witnessed traffic rush last Sunday (KM/Umar Ganie)

“Only asymptomatic staff/visitors to be allowed in the offices. Officer and staff residing in the containment zone to inform the supervisory officer. Such staff to be permitted to work from home. Drivers to maintain social distancing and follow required dos and do nots. Drivers residing in containment zones not to be allowed to drive vehicles. Meetings to be done through video conferencing,” read the guidelines.

Sources said Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu is monitoring the situation on a realtime basis and Jammu and Kashmir has feared well on many fronts compared to other states and UTs.

“There should be no panic if cases increase. Likewise, there should be no complacency if the cases drop. Precautions are the key. Normal activities can resume with precautions,” said a top officer privy to the developments in the officialdom.

Lieutenant Governor, G C Murmu chairing  a high level meeting to review COVID-19 preparedness in Kashmir (Photo: DIPR)

An official spokesman said Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Chief Executive Officer, JKERA, last week chaired a meeting regarding the resumption of works in Kashmir Division after the UT administration issued guidelines for the resumption of developmental activities post COVID Lockdown.