Smoking, Shisha services prohibited in cafes under 'new normal'

Shisha smoking was banned in the country on March 19 as a measure against the Covid-19 virus.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced guidelines to be followed in restaurants and cafes when the Maldives reopens in July under a sense of new normalcy.

The policy states guidelines to be followed in the transport of items, retail operations, smoking and shisha services, as well as canteen and market operations in the country.

Employees are required to maintain a distance of three feet when providing services and the management is to follow the guidelines to allow employees to do so when creating work schedules.

Safety measures such as reducing contact, minimizing staff are also to be followed in addition to safety measures when serving customers.

Any employee with symptoms of COVID-19 are to refrain from attending work, while employees are also required to maintain clean hygiene and wear masks at work in addition to maintaining three feet distance.

The instructions for employees to follow are to be posted at the place of work. Customers should also be able to view instructions to be followed when obtaining services.

Hand hygiene measures such as washing hands and sanitizing must be made available at any such outlets providing services.

The guideline also bans smoking, use of e-cigarettes as well as shisha services at restaurants and cafe until the HPA advises to do otherwise. 

Specific employees designated to serve customers must be set out by the management while these employees are also required to wear face masks and wear gloves. This is to prevent customers from obtaining services on their own.

Food items on display at bakeries must be covered with cling films or food wrapping. If the items are not packaged in such a manner, the items must be kept inside a glass shelf.

Food production is also to be limited as part of an effort to reduce employees at work simultaneously.

Instead of customers serving themselves via tongs or other utensils, restaurants and cafe's are required to provide packed and labeled food items that adhere to the national standards. If the items are not lacked accordingly, a designated employee must be the one to serve these items to customers.

Market locations are also required to make handwashing arrangements and customers are also required to maintain a distance of three feet at all times from others. Packaging of fish is for the time being prohibited in these locations.

Hand sanitizers are also to be made available at market stalls. Customers are also advised to refrain from touching items unnecessarily.