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Himachal: Read All SOPs for Hotels, Restaurants, Home-Stays and Others Involved in Tourism Industry

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Himachal pradesh - all SOPs for hotel and tourists

Shimla-Queues of vehicles waiting to enter Himachal Pradesh from other States were seen at the Parwanoo barrier on Sunday – a day after the Government opened the State for tourist activity and allowed entry without any pass or permission. The visitors will have to only register themselves on an online portal and furnish a COVID-19 test report not older than 72 hours to confirm they are not infected.  The public and the hoteliers have termed this decision as catastrophic considering the fact that the State is witnessing rapid rise in number of COVID-19 cases with returnees. 

After allowing tourism activity in Himachal Pradesh, the State Government has issued a rigorous 29-page long list of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for opening and operation for hotels, restaurants, B&B, home-stays, taxi drivers, wayside amenities like food outlets/stalls, those offering recreational adventure activities like para-gliding, rafting etc., amusement parks, banqueting, and sightseeing services.  

Considering the SOPs, it appears tourism is not going to be so much fun for both the guests and the staff. 

There are guidelines for almost everything from check-in to check-out like linen count, its allocation, cleaning, disposing of garbage. The SOPs have also mentioned the disinfectant, frequency of cleaning and methods of cleaning for different items/areas.  

Himachal Pradesh - all SOPs for hotels

Then there are guidelines for cleaning and sanitization of bathrooms, doorknobs, elevator, public counter, printers, scanners, tabletops, chair handles, pens, diary files keyboards, mouse pad, tech coffee dispensing machine etc. In case a guest coughs or sneezes, then the two-meter area around the guest would have to be cleaned/sanitized.

All hotels, restaurants, B&B/Homestays must-have thermal guns with which all staff and guests would be scanned daily. Further, the list of must-have items includes hand sanitizers, masks, garbage bags, chemicals for deep cleaning. Hand gloves and gown/apron are only recommended.

 Handling COVID-19 Suspects

The most important part is handling COVID-19 suspects. Hotels can’t deny entry even if someone shows symptoms of the disease. As per the SOPs, the management would have to provide N-95 masks to such suspected patients, offer medical help, send them to their rooms, and monitor their health. If the illness persists, the management would have to lock the room, clean and disinfect the entire floor and reception area. Then, the staff would have to inform the case on the COVID-19 helpline.

The hotels would have to take a lot of details regarding the guest in a given format.

The SOPs also contains several do’s and don’t for guest and staff. Guest in one room can not interact with guests in other rooms.

The hoteliers are also directed to offer online service for check-in which would include scanning QR code by guests for filling details in an online form that also allows uploading required documents. The form should appear on the screen of receptionist/front office manager. The online form should provide an “I Agree” checkbox before submission. The guests should get an OTP on their registered mobiles to confirm check-in.

Hotels would have to use spacing measures like stickers, tapes, markers to maintain distance at all places.

There are several other guidelines which you can read in the copy of the full notification uploaded at the end of this report.

The hotels have been asked to encourage staff to use their vehicles and avoid public transport. Further, sanitization and exchange of uniform would be a daily norm

Training departments of hotels would have to conduct sensitization classes for staff on updated hygiene standard. All employees should be aware of all COVID-19 related symptoms.

Establishing a Management Team (Rapid Response Team)

As per the SOPs, hotels would have to appoint a management team headed by “Rapid Response Leader” ideally an officer from higher management or specially appointed officer and “Rapid Response Officers” from each and every operational department. The appointed team would have to follow these guidelines in consultation with other directions, which may be issued from various authorities in connection with COVID-19.

The team would be responsible to prevent incidents, effectively manage cases, and mitigate impact among guests, staff and other involved parties.

Restaurants

Restaurants have been asked to encourage prior booking. Every guest would be scanned and if the scanner records a temperature of 98.6 fahrenheit, then the entry would be denied and guests would be asked to return.  

In case the guests don’t have masks, then the restaurant management would have to provide them with masks. Contrary to this, the guests not wearing masks should be denied entry. They will have to reduce their sitting capacity at least by 2/3 to change the seating plan to maintain social distancing.

The guests would be served only bottled water after disinfecting outside surface of bottles. Restaurants would have to use disposable menu which offers more cooked food and discourage raw food like salad. The table and chairs would be cleaned and disinfected daily. Restaurants have been asked to avoid buffet food.

All glassware should be washed with hot water and lemon. The units would have to sanitize non-veg food with 100 ppm chlorine and non-veg items with 50 ppm chlorine.

All machine touchpoints, operating panels, seats, covers, toolbox etc requiring human touch should be sanitized at an hourly frequency with effective sanitizers. Further, every restaurant must have good quality disposable hand gloves, three layers masks with synthetic outer layer/N95 masks, long gowns, eye goggles or face shield

PPEs should be discarded in a plastic bag, sealed and labelled as infectious waste.

Food delivery personnel have been directed leave the packet at a 1-meter distance at customer’s door and avoid handing over the food packet directly to the customers. Restaurants are asked to encourage takeaways and discourage dine in.

They will have to use a cleaning solution such as soap and water (preferably hot water, followed by disinfection using freshly prepared 1% hypochlorite solution or equivalent. After cleaning dishes, sanitation using alcohol/quaternary ammonium is recommended.

The units would have to scrub floors with hot water and detergent using minimal water twice a day.

Restaurants have also been asked to train drivers, loaders and staff about symptoms of COVID-19 and preventive measures. Transporters are advised to avoid the use of public toilet during break and maintain a high standard of hygiene.

The SOPs have also mentioned sanitization of food packaging along with the retention time of the coronavirus on different surfaces. (Given Below).

average retention time of coronavirus

For B&B/Home Stay

For B&B/Home Stays must-have thermal guns and other PPEs. The owner would have to gather all details regarding guests like travel history, medical condition, get a separate self-declaration form, and maintain files in addition to regular registers. As per the SOPs, it would be mandatory to mop the floor twice a day. The units have been asked to use disposable cutlery. The guest would not be allowed to washing clothes inside rooms.

Then there are guidelines for wayside amenities like food outlets. The cab drivers have also been asked to wear masks and sanitize the vehicle after every trip.

There are directions regarding reducing the density of visitors at a sightseeing place and tourist spots. Service providers have been asked to offer online tickets online for museums, parks, zoos etc.

Photographs can’t offer dresses to visitors for photoshoots.

For recreational adventure activities like water sports, service providers would have to sanitize rafts, boats, jet ski, paddle boats, life jackets, helmets, paddles.  There is also a guideline to maintain social distancing in paragliding.

In banqueting, only fifty guests would be allowed in a family social function.

Click Here to Read Copy of Complete Notification 

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Himachal Records a Sharp Spike in Daily New Covid Cases and Deaths, Two More Test Positive for Omicron

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on Monday witnessed a major jump in the number of both daily Covid-19 positive people and Covid-19 related deaths. While the state recorded 2446 new cases, six people died due to Covid-19 related illnesses. The Kangra district reported four of these days. The Covid-19 death toll has jumped to 3880 in the state and the active cases to 12142.
Further, Solan (359) reported the highest number of cases, followed by Kangra (348), Mandi (312), and Sirmaur (310). The capital reported 289 new cases.

Himachal Pradesh has also reported two new cases of the Omicron variant. Both cases were reported from the Una district where two people had returned from foreign countries. Reportedly, one of them had returned from Dubai and the other from Frace. So far, the state has recorded three cases of the Omicron variant, according to the official statistics.

Daily Covid-19 Report Issued by HP NHM for January 17, 2022 (Till 7 pm)

Omicron cases in Himachal pradesh

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite a rise in positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been giving media statements directing the officials to increase testing, but the number remains below 15, 000.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate rose to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of the third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

The daily sampling, however, remains low despite rise in the positivity rate. On Monday, according to the statistics of the HP Health Department, 12,850 samples were taken. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been directing the officials to increase testing, but the number still remains below 15, 000.

According to the official statistics, last week (10 Jan – 16 Jan), Himachal Pradesh had reported 11280 new cases and the positivity rate had risen to 14.1%.

Though the HP Government has imposed some Covid-19 restrictions, the entry of visitors to the state was yet to be restricted or regulated.

The surge is likely to continue till the third wave of the pandemic peaks in Himachal. Health experts and the state government had already warned about the advent of third wave.

The government and experts had been urging the people to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and follow related protocols strictly to minimize the impact of the third wave. However, the compliance was reported to be quite low among all sections of the society and within the government itself.

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HP Cabinet Decisions Jan 14, 2022: No New Covid Restrictions, Nod to Tax Waiver for Transporters & Other Decisions

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HP Cabinet Decisions January 14, 2022

Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on January 14, 2022. It was expected that the state government could take a decision on imposing more Covid-19 restriction considering the sudden surge in daily new cases, however no such decision was taken. 

The Cabinet took various decisions including a nod to dispense with the process of 15 marks evaluation and enhancement of weightage of written test from 85 to 100 marks for direct recruitment to Class-III posts.

Tax Waivers for Transporters

The Cabinet gave its ex post facto approval for 100 percent waiver/ exemption of Token Tax, Special Road Tax and Passenger Tax of various categories of vehicles to provide relief to the transporters keeping in view the effect due to corona pandemic.

HP Cabinet decided to waive of remaining 50 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Taxi, Maxi, Auto and Contract Carriage buses, Institutional Buses and 100 percent Token Tax on Contract Carriage Buses and Special Road Tax on Stage Carriage with effect from 1st August 2020 to 30th June 2021. I

The Cabinet also decided to waive off 100 percent Token Tax on Stage Carriage, Contract Carriage and Institutional Buses and Special Road Tax of Stage Carriage with effect from 1st July 2021 to 30th November 2021.

It also decided to waive off 100 passenger tax on contract carriage and institutional buses with effect from 1st April 2020 to 30th November 2021.

The HP Cabinet gave its approval for restructuring of State Taxes and Excise Department. Creation and filling up of posts would be carried out by the Department in a phased manner in consultation with the Finance Department and sync with the restructuring proposal.

The Cabinet gave its approval to fill up 108 posts of different categories in the Revenue Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 42 posts of Silk Inspectors in the Industries Department on a contract basis.

The Cabinet decided to fill up 13 posts of different categories in the Printing and Stationery Department.

It decided to fill up three posts of Statistical Assistant in Revenue Department on contract basis.

Relief to Flood Affected Farmers of Lahaul-Spiti

The Cabinet gave its nod to provide relief to flood-affected farmers of Lahaul-Spiti district for current agriculture and horticulture losses caused due to extensive rains on 27th to 30th July last year. The farmers would be provided Rs.2000 per bigha for losses between 25 to 50 percent, Rs. 2500 per bigha for losses between 50 to 75 percent and Rs. 3000 per bigha for losses to agricultural and horticultural crops above 75 percent. Rs. 3000 per bigha would also be provided to farmers for losses to their lands caused due to landslides/flash floods/avalanches etc. and Rs. 1000 per bigha would be provided for the desilting of agricultural and horticultural lands. 

It also gave planning permission for the construction of the PHC building between Lions Club and Housing Block No. 46 in Sector 6 New Shimla with relaxation beyond permissible norms in the public interest.

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021

HP Swaran Jayanti Energy Policy-2021 for clean and green energy development through expeditious of full energy potential especially hydro and solar. The Government aims to add 10000 MW of green energy through hydro, solar and other green energy sources by 2030 and the development of green energy sources

It also aimed at developing a transmission Master Plan to facilitate planning and timely execution of hydro and solar projects. It also lays stress on renewal energy sources viz. solar, wind, biomass and other non-conventional energy sources.

HP Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021

The Cabinet gave its approval to the Himachal Pradesh Swarnim Jayanti Sports Policy 2021 to develop and maintain sports infrastructure, encourage public-private participation in creating sports infrastructure, coordinate with educational institutions for the promotion of sports and to encourage, train and support sportspersons for participation and excellence in national and international championships with high standards of ethics. 

 

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Covid Restrictions Increase as Himachal Reports a Big Spike With 1200 New Cases in 24 Hours

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covid restrictions in himachal pradesh 2022

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh is witnessing a sudden spike in the number of daily Covid-19 positive cases as warned by the health experts and the government. In a span of eight days, the rate of new cases has jumped to more than double.

On Monday, of the total 9942 samples tested for Covid-19, 1200 were found to be positive with two Covid-19 deaths.  This number was below 500 on Sunday.

The surge has come ahead of the `warning of the third wave which is expected to peak by the March-end.

The state government has begun to increase restrictions as a precautionary measure. But the most crucial measure – restrictions on visitors from outside the state- is yet to be attended. Currently, Hill state is reporting a huge footfall of tourists due to snowfall. All tourist destinations are crowded with tourists as it’s the peak season. The imposition of restrictions on visitors would affect the tourism industry.

Also Read: HP Govt Closes Educational Institutes in State in Wake of Surge in Daily Covid-19 Cases

The HP Government has already imposed a night curfew, closed all educational institutes, banned all social and religious gatherings and imposed conditions on the number of people for those which have been allowed, shifted to a 5-day week for the government offices with only 50% attendance. Further, timings of the opening of the markets/shops have also been modified. However, these restrictions wouldn’t apply to chemists/medical stores. These restrictions would remain in force till January 26, 2022. 

Also Read: HP Govt Offices to Operate 5-Days a Week with 50% Attendance, Ban on Social and Religious Gatherings

In the Shimla district, the shops/markets would be allowed to open between 10 am to 7 pm.  However, motor mechanics are allowed to remain open till 11 pm. Similarly, restaurants can remain open till 10 pm, and those located along the National Highways till 11 pm.

In the Una district, all shops/markets except some would be allowed to open only till 6:30 pm and will remain closed on Saturday.

The district administration of Hamirpur has decided this timing to be between 6 am to 6 pm. The markets would remain closed on Saturday and Sunday except for those selling essentials.

For the Kullu district, shops/markets would remain open till 6: 30 pm and 6 pm in Solan. Similarly, administrations of respective districts have the liberty to create their roaster for these timings.

The return of these restrictions to the state and the warning of more daily cases during the next couple of months is causing a panic in the public, worsened by speculations of a possible lockdown in stock.

 

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