Himachal Pradesh to reopen hotels only after mid-September, so as to be completely prepared for the safety of both the staff as well as the guests. By Upasana Singh

Himachal Pradesh will reopen its hotels only after mid-September. The state, after suffering a major setback in the tourism sector due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, had earlier decided to ease restrictions and reopen its restaurants, hotels and places of worship after June 8. However, considering the rising cases of COVID-19 across India, the hotels have decided to remain shut till mid-September.

The decision was taken by the Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association so as to implement all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the best possible way, ensure that the staff is properly trained in new safety norms such as thermal screening, social distancing, sanitisation, cleanliness, hygiene, etc., and then reopen with all the required protocols in place.

Earlier, ANI had quoted Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur as saying, “Temples, hotels, restaurants to open in Himachal Pradesh from June 8 following social distancing norms and other precautions.” However, it was further clarified that these places will only be open for people within the state and not for tourists crossing borders. He had also proposed to make the state a quarantine destination, by inviting tourists to complete their 14 day-mandatory quarantine period in Himachal Pradesh. The idea though was to revive tourism, and bring back some of the lost revenue as the sector being the primary source of income in the state, but was not really appreciated by the hoteliers as they feared it will only increase the cases of COVID-19, and will put both the locals as well as the staff at risk.

The state had for the first time since lockdown, allowed inter-state movement of vehicles via road as well as private transport buses from June 1. But the curfew was extended till June 30 albeit with relaxations in timings.

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