The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for maintaining supply of essential goods through retail and e-commerce platforms.

Also read: E-commerce firms slowly coming back on stream

Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to all the States and Union Territories to let e-commerce remain operational and encourage home delivery of essential goods as the 21-day lockdown was enforced to break the transmission chain of coronavirus.

According to the SOP, “all facilities in supply of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar or e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate ensuring strict social distancing.”

It said warehouse facilities should not be closed because they also stored non-essential items.

The persons engaged in the supply shall be allowed to commute on the basis of e-pass issued by local authorities and the employees shall carry a valid photo identification card.

In the case of the unorganised sector, the persons involved in supply chain may be allowed to commute based on approval or authorisation letter issued by the local authorities. “These facilities should carry out regular health and sanitation checks of employees and will provide them with protective gear,” the SOP said.

It asked the States to open 24/7 control rooms to register complaints and grievances. The SOP covers suppliers of essential goods, including restaurants supplying home delivery of cooked food items.

The SOP is devised for transporters / drivers/loaders of essential goods from the place of manufacture to wholesalers and retailers and also manufacturers of drugs, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

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