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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

Video: Fire Wreaks Havoc at Solan Mall Road

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Solan Fire Break out 2021

Solan-A fire broke out at the congested Solan Mall Road today evening, which engulfed about three shops including a medical store and garment and shoe shops. According to the initial report received from the district administration, the fire reportedly started from a medical store, which was closed.

People first noticed smoke rising from inside the building and informed the owner of the shop and fire services. By the time, fire tenders reached the spot, the fire had spread considerably to a large part of the multi-story building. Sounds of explosions from inside the medical store caused a panic among the adjoining shopping mall and people present on the scene. These sounds of explosions reportedly came from bottles of sanitisers and other flammables products kept inside the medical store.

No loss of life was reported.

According to a report, two fire hydrants installed at the Solan Mall Road for such emergency situation did not work, which led to delay in extinguishing the fire. Meanwhile, property worth lakhs in three to four shops turned to ash. It took over two hours to extinguish the fire with the help of locals. 

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Ajay Kumar, had arrived at the spot. The exact losses were yet to be assessed. It’s pertinent to mention that the Solan Mall is a congested place with a large number of shops and the fire could have easily turned into a bigger disaster if it were not controlled. 

The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit. But it would be possible to cite the exact cause only after an inquiry, if conducted. More information was awaited.

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Environment

Himachal First State to Complete Assessment of Snow Leopard and its Wild Prey

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Snow Leopard Population Assessment in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The assessment of snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh has been completed by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey.

The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards.

It is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the State. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh.
The exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 sq.km., with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both of the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment. MoEFCC had launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India, on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day. You can read the complete protocol here.

Snow leopard is the icon of high mountains of Asia. In India, they inhabit the higher Himalayan and TransHimalayan landscape in an altitudinal range between approximately 3,000 m to 5,400 m above MSL, spanning c. 100,000 km2 in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This area contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.

Snow leopards occur over a vast, relatively remote and difficult to access mountainous area. Together with their elusive nature, this makes a complete population census of snow leopards an unfeasible goal. Even their distribution remains unclear. For example, recent surveys show that they do not occur in 25 % of the area that was thought to be their range in the state of Himachal Pradesh Their density is expected to be variable in space, dependent on several factors such as habitat suitability, prey availability, disturbance and connectivity. Variation in density across space also poses the risk of biased sampling, and, indeed, most of the snow leopard population assessments conducted so far across the world are biased towards the best habitats.

Feature Photo: Pexels/Charles Miller

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Records 81% Turnout in 3rd Phase of PRI Polls, Congress Makes a Come Back in Theog MC after 20 Years

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third phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The third phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutes in Himachal Pradesh recorded around 81 percent polling on January 21, 2021. The elections were held in 1137 Gram Panchayats in this phase. The highest 94 percent polling was registered in Lodhi Majra Panchayat of Nalagarh development block in Solan district. This information was released by a spokesperson of HP Election Commission

District-wise, Sirmaur recorded 85% turnout, followed by Solan (85%) Kullu (84%),Chamba (82.8%), Mandi (82.7%), Una (81.1%), Shimla (82%),Una (81%), Bilaspur (80.3%), Hamirpur (78.1%), Kangra (78%), and Kinnaur (70%).

 Further, 48 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation also cast their votes.

The Spokesperson said that the poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state.

Counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on January 22, 2021, at block headquarters.

Congress made a come back to Theog Municipal Council after 20 years. While Vivek Thapar was elected as the Chairman of the MC, Reen Roy was elected as the Vice-Chairman. Congress has already registered wins in Rohru and Rampur MCs and Chopal, Kotkhai and Sunni Nagar panchayats.

Theog MC Polls 2021

Congress After Registering Victory in Theog MC Elections

The HPCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, while speaking to media persons yesterday, said that of the total seven Wards of the Theog MC, Congress has claimed victory on four wards while remaining three Wards went to independent candidates. Congress alleged that BJP had left no stone unturned to pressurize, lure, and threaten elected members to gain their support. 

Rathore mocked at the defeat of BJP MP’s bother in Mandi district. Further, the candidate in Ghumarwin of Bilaspur – home district of BJP Chief Jagat Prakash Nadda-  had also faced defeat, Rathore said. BJP candidate in Sujanpur – home to Union Minister for State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur-could also not register a victory and lost, he said.

Congress also registered a victory in elections to Parwanoo MC. Kuldeep Singh Rathore, said that winning candidate Nisha Sharma joined Congress yesterday. She had won twice from the same Ward on BJP ticket. This time, she was denied ticket and fought the elections as an independent candidate. 

Parwanoo Counciloor Nisha sharma

Nisha Sharma Joins Congress

Rathore alleged that the government has been trying to threaten Nisha by registering a fake case of illegal construction. Similarly, husband of Chandrawati – another Congress councilor in Parwanoo- who runs a depot was fined wrongfully yesterday, Rathore alleged.   

While BJP has been making claims of victory on the majority of seats, Congress had been terming it as a bluff.  Also, it had been alleging BJP of misusing government machinery. Independent candidates are being bought and allurements are being given to winning Congress candidates, Rathore alleged.  

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