Facing a stricter lockdown after a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases, Ahmedabad city is seen moving towards a cautious re-opening, with authorities insisting on digital payment only for home deliveries of necessities.

In the latest decision, the civic authorities have directed all retail outlets to use only cashless payment modes for home deliveries and asked all their employees to download Aarogya Setu app on their mobile phones.

The decision of cashless transaction is taken to prevent infection transmission through currency notes. “It is found that coronavirus can survive on paper for many days,” a directive stated on Monday.

The city has been under complete lockdown since May 7, till May 15, allowing only milk vendors and medical shops to function. The city has seen 5,818 positive cases, with 381 deaths from Covid-19, as of Sunday evening.

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Screening of staff

Announcing the latest decisions on Monday, Dr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, Additional Chief Secretary to Gujarat government, who has been assigned the task to oversee Covid-19 response for Ahmedabad, stated that as an abundant caution to prevent coronavirus spread through currency notes, “it has been made mandatory/compulsory to accept digital modes of payments through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and other platforms. Thus home delivery has been made mandatorily cashless.”

This means, cash-on-delivery (COD) option for home deliveries is not permissible in the city starting May 15.

The civic body has also asked all the retail joints and multi-brand retail outlets such as DMart, Osia Hypermart, Big Basket, Big Bazaar, Zomato and Swiggy to get 100 per cent screening of their delivery staff.

Health cards

Further, as a home delivery protocol, the authority will issue health cards to the staff, which will be valid for seven days, and has to be renewed from time to time. There will be no delivery boy to be enlisted from containment area. Also, those delivery boys on duty have to use hand gloves, sanitation cap and sanitisers and follow social distancing norms.

The authorities have also made it mandatory for every staff of the retail outlets to compulsorily download the Aarogya Setu app on their phones.

The Corporation and its 100 health teams will make door-to-door approach for around 17,000 retail shops of vegetables, fruits, milk, groceries, among others, to guide and pursue them to get online payment apps installed on their phones and provide "technical support and popularise payment through UPI.”