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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 

Misc News/Press Release

CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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