Fresh Curbs, Guidelines As Tourists Flock to Himachal, Uttarakhand Amid COVID
As tourists flock to HP, Uttarakhand amid COVID-19, concern warning issued, relaxations curbed by authorities.
As pictures and videos of maskless tourists flocking to Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand went viral, both Central and state governments have issued strict warnings to follow COVID-19 appropriate protocols to avoid an impending third wave of the pandemic.
On 9 July, cautioning people that the second wave is not over, Joint Secretary, Health, Lav Agarwal, said, "It is necessary to keep following Covid protocols in order to close the second wave fully."
Showing a video from Kempty falls in Uttarakhand's Mussoorie, where a large crowd of people can be seen flouting all Covid protocols, he asked, "Is it not an open invitation to the virus to infect us?"
Tourists have started thronging to the destinations like Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Narkanda, Mussoorie, Rishikesh and other parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
'Rs 5000 For Not Wearing Masks in Manali'
Following the outrage over the viral images and videos, Himachal Pradesh government also took cognisance and issued guidelines for tourists.
Gurudev Sharma, SP Kullu said, "Those not wearing masks can be punished with ₹5,000 in fine or 8 days in jail."
Sharma further said on 8 July, police have recorded over 300 challans in the last 7-8 days and have recovered ₹3 lakh.
A five-year-old slum boy, who hogged social media attention for teaching Covid-appropriate behaviour to holidaymakers with a stick in hand, is now being employed by the Himachal Pradesh police to make people follow the rules.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur too had said earlier this week that 'we are anxious' as the tourist influx has increased in Himachal Pradesh.
"We welcome tourists but I urge them to follow Covid norms. They should follow social distancing and wear a mask. We have also directed hotels to follow SOP strictly," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Himachal Pradesh Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu said, "With the prolonged work from home (WFH) culture being adopted by many companies and multinationals, we are seeing that it has almost turned out to be work from Himachal Pradesh."
It is good for the economy of the state, he said. “But at the same time, we have to remain vigilant that people are following guidelines including wearing of masks and maintaining social distance," he added.
No Entry Without COVID-Negative RT-PCR Report in Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand too has imposed restrictions to curb the influx of tourists to some popular tourist destinations in the state.
Dehradun District Magistrate on 9 July said that anyone who is planning to visit Mussoorie from outside Uttarakhand will now need to furnish a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours.
Further, registration (e-pass) is mandatory for all inbound persons by all modes of transportation, on the Smart City web portal of Dehradun, prior to their travel.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami was quoted as saying by ANI that the government has issued an order regarding 50% occupancy capping in hotels in Nainital and Dehradun.
The CM also said that challans are being issued to those who are flouting the mandatory face mask rule. "We are making efforts and will follow guidelines to contain the spread of the virus," he said.
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