Money & Banking

Covid-19: SBI issues guidelines to offices, branches in Kerala

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on July 03, 2020 Published on July 03, 2020

The Manacaud Branch of the State Bank of India   -  THE HINDU

The Circle Office of State Bank of India in Kerala has issued a circular on Covid-19 preventive and precautionary measures to be implemented at all branches/offices in the State. This follows reported failure of a few branches and offices to strictly implement them, including social distancing.

“It is reiterated that there shall be zero compromise on all Covid-19 preventive and precautionary measures as advised by the health authorities and Indian Banks’ Association from time to time,” the SBI circular said. “Our branch staff and frontline workers are discharging their duties in this heightened risk environment,” that necessitates strict vigil across the affected areas and the State.

A Raghavan, General Secretary, State Bank Staff Union (Kerala Circle) welcomed the circular as timely and thanked the management for prompt action. The union had, last week, raised concern over the Covid-19 situation at a few places in North Kerala where the number of cases getting infected from unknown sources had showed a sudden spike, even necessitating a triple lockdown in a taluk.

Circle Quick Response Team

Branch heads and controllers have been directed to monitor the situation and take care to ensure that the bank’s frontline staff is adequately protected while working at branches, more particularly in areas of high incidence of Covid-19 cases. The Circle Quick Response Team had reviewed the scenario and decided to implement a slew of measures in all branches and offices with immediate effect.

All staff members in consumer-facing roles must be provided with a face shield. Thermal screening of all visitors will be conducted. Crowd management has to be ensured with social distancing markings inside and outside the branch premises, with a minimum distance of six feet between two persons. Branches with high footfalls and without a security guard, must outsource such service for effective crowd management, introduce thermal screening and ensure social distancing at all cost.

Earlier, a circular from the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) had cited a State government directive giving consent to the demand from the staff union for inclusion of bank employees in the rapid antibody test drive. It advised banks to stock up on masks, sanitisers and safety devices in sufficient numbers, and to ensure their use. Facilities for hand wash and sanitisers should be made available at the entrance of the premises, and it should be ensured that customers sanitise themselves before entering the branch.

State government guidelines

Social distancing protocols should be followed to manage the crowd inside. A maximum of five customers are allowed inside at any point in time. In view of Unlock 2.0 guidelines, minimum distance to be maintained between two persons is six feet. This too shall be observed strictly while customers transact business inside.

Employees residing in the containment zones where a shutdown is ordered may not be able to venture outside and report to branches for duty. In such situations, the banks would have to make necessary arrangements to ensure that such affected branches are suitably staffed and functioning normally.

In compelling situations, assistance of the local police may be solicited for security at branches and also Business Correspondents to maintain social distancing, ensure law and order, and staggering of account holders. Guidelines issued by the respective District Administration must be strictly followed.

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Published on July 03, 2020
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