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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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Kinnaur Landslide: 14 Bodies Recovered in 30 Hours, Several Still Missing

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Kinnaur landslide rescue operation photos

Kinnaur: Landslide in Kinnaur district is unfolding as one of the biggest catastrophe in Himachal Pradesh as the of fatality count continues to rise. After 30 hours of the rescue operation, which was hampered multiple times due to shooting stones at the site, 14 dead bodies had been recovered till the suspension of the operation on Thursday evening. While 10 bodies were recovered on Wednesday, four more were exhumed from the rubble on Thursday.

As many as 15 persons were rescued and taken to Bhavanagar CHC for treatment.

The wreckage of the HP Road Transport Corporation bus was found scattered about 500 meters below the National Highway-5 in Nigulsari – the site of the massive landslide. The condition of the wreckage suggested there was little hope of survival of any passenger. The distraught relatives of the missing persons remained at the site, grieving with diminishing hope to see their family members alive as the rescue operation for today was suspended.

Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

HRTC Bus Wreckage

The state of exhumed bodies added to the horror of the families, as well as, the rescuers. Some of the bodies were in such a state that their identification was next to impossible. While some bodies had their limbs cut off, one of them was found without the head.

As the rescue operation would be entering its third day on Friday, the death toll is likely to rise as the driver of the bus, who had survived the accident and was seriously injured, had estimated that 25-30 passengers were onboard when the landslide pushed it down the NH.

Further, there is still no sign of one vehicle (Bolero SUV), informed Director, State Disaster Management, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta. The exact number of people feared to be buried under the rubble was yet to be ascertained. According to the district administration, based on calls received from families, the number of missing people could be anywhere between 30-50.

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

Meanwhile, some family members of the missing persons complained that while the rescue operation was initiated immediately from the Negulsari side, JCB machines took over five hours to reach the spot from the Chauri side. They complained that such a big delay was crucial and could have saved more lives.

It’s pertinent to mention that the HRTC bus had remained untraceable on Wednesday and the wreckage was found on the second day of the rescue operation. However, most passengers were yet to be traced.  

According to the Deputy Commandant, ITBP, Dharmender Thakur, shooting stones and sliding rubble posed a huge challenge for the rescue teams, which comprised of hundreds of personnel of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, local police, and CISF. Undertaking this operation on a steep slope further created difficult circumstances for the teams. The lives of the rescuers were also at risk as the site remained vulnerable to reactivation of landslide.

This landslide in the Kinnaur district has become a matter of debate for geologists, environmentalists, seismologists and climatologists. Unscientific cutting of fragile mountains and blasting for the widening of roads and construction of tunnels for hydropower projects, changing patterns of rains, and seismic activity are being referred to be the reasons behind the increased incidents of landslides, especially in Kinnaur district.

At the same time, the inability of the state government to consider technical suggestions given by geological experts from time to time for mitigation of such hazards is also finding mention in the critical comments given by experts. The lackadaisical attitude of the government in the adoption of technologies, such as the early warning system developed by the IIT Mandi for mountainous regions vulnerable to landslides, is also attracting criticism.

It’s pertinent to mention that after the Kotrupi disaster – a massive landslide that had buried two buses and claimed 48 lives in August 2017-experts from IIT Mandi had carried out surveys and studies and provided several suggestions for minimizing damages, which fell into deaf ears.  

The deceased were identified as:

  1. Rohit Kumar
  2. Vanshuka
  3. Meera Devi
  4. Nitisha
  5. Prem Kumar
  6. Gyan Dassi
  7. Devi Chand
  8. Kumari Radhika
  9. Bhupender
  10. Kamlesh Kumar
  11. Lakshman Thapa
  12. Vijay Kumar

Two others were yet to be identified. The state government has announced ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs 5o thousand to the injured. HRTC has also announced Rs. 1 lakh ex-gratia to the passengers of the bus killed in the mishap. 

Further, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and several other political leader visited the spot and met the relatives of victims on Thursday. 

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Kinnaur Tragedy: HRTC Bus Wreckage Found, Death Toll Rises to 13 and Likely Rise

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Kinnaur HRTC Bus wreckage

Kinnaur-The rescue operation at the site of the landslide in Nigulsari, Nichar Tehsil of the Kinnaur district, was resumed on Thursday morning. The wreckage of the ill-fated bus of the HP Road Transport Corporation was found 500 meters below the road and about 200 meters above the Sutlej River. The pictures showed that the bus was completely crushed and torn to pieces. 

So far, 13 dead bodies had been recovered and 14 injured including the driver and the conductor of the HRTC bus, which was on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar, were rescued and taken to hospital. The death toll is likely to rise as the passengers were yet to be traced. According to the driver, there were 25-30 passengers in the bus when it was hit by the landslide. A Bolero SUV alongwith passengers was also missing and was yet to be traced.  

Kinnaur rescue operation resumes

The mishap occurred at about 12:30 pm on Wednesday. The rescue operation was suspended at 9 pm due to dark conditions and shooting stones, which made the rescue operation difficult.

Till the suspension of the operation, the rescue teams comprising of NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, Central Industrial Security Force, and local police had traced three cars and a tipper.  

The rescue teams were searching from two directions and were using drones too.   

Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

The landslide had hit about 200 meters patch of the National Highway-5 – about 10 kilometres away from Bhavanagar.

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Kinnaur Tragedy: 10 Bodies Recovered, Still No Trace of HRTC Bus, 50-60 Persons Feared to be Missing

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Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

Kinnaur: The rescue operation at the site of the landslide in Nigulsari, Nichar Tehsil of the Kinnaur district, was suspended at 9 pm on Wednesday due to dark conditions and shooting stones, which made the rescue operation difficult. The rescue operation would be resumed on Thursday morning, according to the information provided by the district administration.

So far, 10 dead bodies, including those of five women and a child, had been recovered and 13 injured were rescued and taken to CHC Bhavnagar. Though the exact number was not known, 50-60 persons were feared to be buried and were yet to be traced.  

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 7

Source: ITBP

The rescue teams comprising of state NDRF, ITBP, Home-Guards, Central Industrial Security Force, and local police had been carrying out the rescue operation aggressively.

The HRTC bus carrying 25-30 passengers and a Bolero SUV were still untraceable. As earth removers removed the rubble, two cars and a truck were traced, but the bus and the SUV weren’t found beneath the rubble. It’s being suspected that rubble and boulders might have pushed the bus and the SUV down the gorge and into the Sutlej River.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 5

Source: ITBP

The HRTC bus and a utility vehicle (a Bolero) and their passengers have not been found under the debris. They are still untraceable. Both vehicles may have rolled down with the debris,” informed Director, State Disaster Management Force, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta.

The rescue teams were searching from two directions and were using drone too, informed Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq.    

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures

Source: ITBP

The landslide had hit about 200 meters patch of the National Highway-5 – about 10 kilometers away from Bhavanagar. The ill-fated bus was reportedly on its way from Reckong Peo to Haridwar in Uttarakhand via Shimla.

Kinnaur tragedy drone picture

Source: ITBP

The survivors included the drivers of the bus, Mahender Pal, who had first informed his higher officials about the landslide, and the conductor, Gulab Singh.

Meanwhile, ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh was announced for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50 thousand for the injured.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 3

Source: ITBP

The landslide has again stirred a debate over ecological damages to the fragile Himalayan region due to rampant blasting and tunneling for hydropower projects and cutting of hills for the widening of roads in an unscientific manner. As compared to the previous year, landslides and cloudbursts doubled in 2o21.

Earlier, on July 25, a landslide had claimed nine lives after boulders rolling down a hill hit a tourist vehicle on Sangla-Chitkul NH in the Batseri region in Kinnaur district. 

According to the statement given in the Legislative Assembly, the ongoing monsoon session has claimed 212 lives and caused damages worth over Rs. 500 crores. The death tally would rise as the rescue operation would be resumed tomorrow.

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 2

Source: ITBP

Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 6 Kinnaur rescue operation pictures 4

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