As concerns regarding tourist influx in the hill stations grow, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has said that regulations have been imposed to manage the crowds but curbing tourism activities again “is not right”.
“You cannot stop tourists from entering the state. The tourism industry has been the worst affected in the aftermath of Covid. Hence, it’s not right to stop these activities,” said Thakur.
“What can be done is being done. Regulations have been imposed at crowded places,” he added.
The CM had earlier as well stated that the state government wants tourists to visit Himachal Pradesh but they must follow Covid-19 protocols.
“Recently, a number of tourists towns including Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala saw high tourist inflow. We have ordered districts to deploy police force to regulate and monitor traffic and warn people against venturing into rivers etc during rains,” Thakur was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Chief Minister said that hotel associations have also been asked to implement SOPs for the functioning of hotels.
“At places where tourists are in large numbers, enforcement of Covid protocols is being done. We have also asked hotel associations to implement SOPs for the functioning of hotels. We want tourists to visit our state but they must follow Covid protocols,” he said.
This comes as thousands of visitors have thronged Himachal Pradesh with the Covid-induced restrictions easing in a phased manner. The state has since imposed local-level restrictions to ensure compliance with all safety protocols.
Last week, the Shimla district administration restricted the number of people visiting the city. The officials have also alerted the crowded locations to avoid the spread of coronavirus keeping in view the possibility of a third Covid wave.
The administration has decided that no one will be allowed to sit on Shimla’s Ridge and Mall Road except senior citizens. If the number of people or tourists increases more than the capacity of Ridge and Mall Road, then entry can be banned.
Earlier this month, VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog said that visuals from tourist spots of people mingling without adhering to Covid protocols are a “serious cause of concern”, and asserted that lowering of the guard cannot be accepted at present.
“We cannot lower our guard. A new risk is being seen at markets and tourist spots where a gathering of crowds being seen, social distancing and mask protocol is not being followed. This is a serious cause of concern. Visuals from tourist spots of people mingling without Covid protocols are a serious cause of concern,” Paul had said.
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