After Spiti Valley decided to suspend all the tourism-related activities for this year, Kinnaur Hotel Association has also announced to close the doors for tourists till November 1 amid soaring Coronavirus cases in Himachal Pradesh.
Kinnaur is famous for its beautiful valleys, like Kalpa and Sangla, Nako village and other trekking and camping sites.
“The decision was taken keeping in view the overall interests of the Kinnauri population. Most of the hotels, homestays and guest houses are located in the apple orchards or villages. The spread of the disease can prove fatal for the rural population and may jeopardise the apple economy,” Mohan Prakash Negi, president of the Kinnaur Hotel Association, told Outlook.
He said the state government’s decision to lift both outbound and inbound inter-state travel restrictions has increased the chances of increase in Covid-19 cases.
Over the past few days, the state has witnessed a spike in the Coronavirus cases. In Kinnaur itself, Covid-19 tally has reached 138 even though the region was Covid-19-free initially due to strict restrictions that locals had imposed.
“Keeping in view the upcoming harvest season, we have unanimously decided to suspend all tourism-related activities till November 1. We can’t take risk of the unforeseen circumstances of pandemic spread at this crucial time. After November 1, when the harvest is over, we will definitely welcome the tourists and travellers to the pristine destinations,” Negi said.
In the rest of Himachal Pradesh, the hoteliers have decided to resume their operations and have welcomed the decision of the state government to open the borders for free movement of the tourists.
Earlier this month, the government allowed bars and restaurants to open, subject to strict regulations on social distancing and providing an infection free environment for customers. The lifting of these restrictions saw a huge rush of people driving to Himachal Pradesh and Shimla. Parwanoo, a gateway to Shimla, reported long queues of vehicles from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi entering the state.
Ten people died from Covid-19 in the state on Friday while the Covid-19 tally reached to 11,363 with 172 new infections.
So far, the state has reported 107 deaths due to the virus.
In Shimla, meanwhile, the state cabinet gave its nod to the reopening of the schools.
“The Cabinet gave its nod to open educational institutions outside the containment zones from September 21. The decision was taken as per SOPs framed by the MHA and the Union ministry of Health,” a government spokesperson said.
The schools, however, will be opened with 50 per cent teaching and non-teaching staff in attendance for students from Class 9 to Class 12, provided the students are willing to take guidance from the teachers. “For this, a written consent of the parents or guardians of students is mandatory,” the spokesperson said.
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