Friday, August 19, 2022

Delhi High Court allows spas, wellness clinics to re-open after lockdown

The Delhi High Court has permitted opening of Spas, Wellness clinics and similar establishments with conditions to comply with the government guidelines maintaining Covid protocols

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The Delhi High Court has permitted the opening of spas, wellness clinics and similar establishments with conditions to comply with the government guidelines maintaining proper hygiene, using masks, RT-PCR test for therapists, etc.

A single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh while pronouncing the judgment noted,

“The slight difference in the nature of services and a slightly higher percentage of risk due to the proximity of the client and the service provider can be obviated by prescribing stricter measures and safeguards rather than continuing to keep such establishments closed.”

The order has been passed in similar pleas filed by Sukaita & others and Association of Wellness Ayurveda and Spa seeking reopening of spas as after the lockdown in March 2020, though various other establishments have been permitted to reopen and commence businesses, spas have still been forced to remain closed.

The bench further observed,

“While this Court is conscious of the importance of prescribing strict safeguards that ought to be taken by establishments providing spa services as also the clients who visit these establishments, the continuation of the embargo on reopening of spas is unjustified.”

The bench allowed reopening of spas and wellness clinics subject to the strict compliance of the following conditions:

i. There shall be strict compliance of the conditions specified in the office memorandum of 18th November 2020 prescribed by the MoHFW in respect of spas, which is extracted above. The 6 feet distance shall be in general maintained between clients and employees. Insofar as the service providers i.e., therapists etc., are concerned, they shall maintain all standards of hygiene, masking etc., as set out below;

ii. In addition, considering the nature of services provided in spas, all employees in such establishments shall undergo fortnightly RTPCR tests, especially the therapists who are likely to come in close contact with the clients.

iii. All therapists and other employees, as also the visitors, shall be subjected to thermal temperature checks and if anyone shows any symptoms, they would not be permitted entry in the establishment.

iv. All service providers shall wear face shields and masks while providing therapy. For treatments which are longer than thirty minutes, a PPE kit should also be worn in addition.

v. Clients should preferably wear masks to the extent possible, considering the nature of services which are availed of.

vi. All visitors/clients shall sign a declaration form to the effect that they have not contracted Covid-19 and if they have, they have tested negative. The establishments are permitted to take a written consent form accepting the risks that may be involved for clients/visitors.

vii. Tools including clothing, other apparel, towels etc., used for clients, shall be sanitised after each and every treatment.

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viii. It shall be ensured that hygienic conditions are maintained in the spas and any other safeguards in force for salons shall also be adhered to by the spas.

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