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Dharamshala Hoteliers Say Condition of 5-Days Pre-Booking Unnecessary, Not Acceptable to Tourists  

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Dharamshala hotelier association on opening hotels

Dharamshala-The Hotel and Restaurant Association, Dharamshala, recently held a meeting under the Chairmanship of President Ashwani Bamba to discuss the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government.  

The Association said that the Tourism Department has made the condition of pre-booking of minimum five nights stay in a hotel mandatory. But prospective guests are not willing to accept this restriction.

“As even in the peak summer season, the average stay of a guest in any destination in the state is only for two nights. We cannot force the guest to stay for five nights in the rainy season,”

Ashwani Bamba said.

He said that the Association has also received feedback from its online as well as offline travel agents, who suggested that guest are not willing to travel to Himachal on these conditions.

“We fail to understand that when producing COVID-19 negative certificate has been made mandatory for entry to the State, what is the logic behind five nights mandatory stay,”

he questioned.

The Association also raised questions over the feasibility of implementing SOP regarding obtaining a certification declaring that a vehicle is sanitized.

“Who are the agencies authorized by the State Administration to issue such certificate and the validity of such certificate? Association feels that this is unnecessary and impractical and will only cause harassment to tourists,”

Ashwani said.

He suggested that instead of this condition, a self-declaration by the guest should suffice.

Also Read: First Open for Tourism, Then Train Staff, HP Govt Goes Topsy Turvy

Further, the SOP asking hotel owners to allow guests to check-in even if they have high temperature and showing visible symptoms of cough and breathlessness is not acceptable to the hoteliers, the Association said.

Further, there is a fear among hoteliers that in case a guest turns out to be COVID-19 positive, hotel premises may be sealed. Also, the SOPs do not mention any directions/instructions regarding the period for which premises of such hotel would be sealed and the staff will be quarantined, the Association said.

 “We suggest that instead of check-in the hotel, such symptomatic guest should be straight away sent to the Government COVID-19 health facilities for further medical check-up and quarantined at designated quarantine facilities till the arrival of his/her report,”

the Association said.

Further, the President said that due to the above-cited SOPs issued by the Department, the majority of the hoteliers are not willing to open.

The Association said that as the present set of SOPs is not favourable for prospective guests and hoteliers and there is an alarming rise in corona cases in Punjab, Delhi, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, they were not expecting many tourists to visit the State. Therefore, the Association said, it’s not advisable to open the hotels till July 30th.

“We are requesting the Government to take into confidence the stakeholders and revise the SOPs, where it incentivises guests to visit the State and to remove unreasonable restrictions,”

the Association said.  

Further, Ashwani informed that the Association has decided to review the SOPs and situation regarding corona cases on July 31 and the next course of action would be decided thereafter.

The Association has made it clear that if any hotel wants to open its premises with the present set of SOPs for the tourists, it may do so at his own risk.

What Hoteliers in Shimla Say About Opening Hotels

About 700 Tourist Visited Himachal During Last 5 Days

About 700 tourists visited the State in the last five days, informed Secretary, Tourism and Civil Aviation Devesh Kumar on Saturday.

He said that before framing the SOP for the opening of tourism units in the State, the Tourism department has examined the SOP of other states who have also opened the hotels for tourists in their respective State.

Advisory to Tourists Planning Visit to Himachal

As per the advisory issued, the tourists who wish to visit Himachal Pradesh are required to register themselves on the E-Pass web portal before 48 hours visiting Himachal under tourist category. The tourists have to carry COVID test certificate (RTPCR) issued by ICMR certified laboratory with a negative report and this should not be more than 72 hours. In addition, the tourist must have downloaded Aarogya Setu App on their mobiles.

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Himachal Records 16 COVID-19 Deaths Including a 16-Year-Old – Highest in a Day This Year

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COVID-19 update himachal pradesh april 20

Shimla-The fatality rate due to the COVID-19 spread is witnessing a sharp increase in Himachal Pradesh. Yesterday, the state had reported 13 COVID-19 deaths, but today the fatalities rose to 16 in a day. A total of 1340 new cases were recorded today till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest six deaths, followed by Shimla (4), and Una (3).

Find more details about the deceased below:

Highest covid 19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The infection claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl in Una district. According to the state health department’s official report, she developed severe pneumonia and was a patient of Diabetes Mellitus Type-1. Other deceased aged between 36-78 years.

Earlier today, the Deputy Commissioner of Una, Raghav Sharma, had issued orders to keep markets/shops closed on Sundays and issued timings for the remaining days. A prohibition was imposed on all sorts of events and social gatherings. The orders would come into effect from April 22, 2021.

Also Read: Himachal: Govt Announces More Restrictive Measures, DC Una Closes Shops on Sundays, Issues Timing for Other Days

Further, Chief Minister Jairam today announced more restrictive measures as an attempt to contain the spread (Watch Video Below).

Solan district reported the highest 265 cases, followed by Una (173), Shimla (164) and Sirmaur (155).

Find more district-wise details below:

Himachal pradesh daily covid-19 report april 20

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Himachal: Govt Announces More Restrictive Measures, DC Una Closes Shops on Sundays, Issues Timing for Other Days

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hp govt's new restrictions in himachal pradesh

Una-Deputy Commissioner of Una district, Raghav Sharma, has issued an order for the imposition of new restrictive measures from April 22, 2021, in wake of the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the district. The DC also expressed fear of community spread and ordered that markets would remain closed on Sundays in both rural and urban areas of the district.

However, these orders would not apply to drug stores, hotels, dhabas, and restaurants. Further, shops selling dairy, vegetables, fruits and meat would also remain open on Sundays from 7 am to 8 pm. Saloons and barber shops would also be allowed to operate on Sunday between 9 am to 6 pm.

All shops would remain open from Monday to Saturday within the given time period, which is 7 am to 8 pm for fruit, vegetable, meat, and dairy shops, and 9 am to 6 pm for saloons/barber shops, and 9 am to 6 pm for remaining shops.

Also Read: With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt

A prohibition has been imposed on the organization of all sort of cultural, religious, political, sports and other gatherings in the district. For attending marriages and funerals, the permission of the district administration would be required.

Today, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur also told the media that the number of people allowed in social gatherings, like marriages, has been reduced to 50 for both indoors and outdoors.

For government employees, working days have been reduced to five days a week and staff capacity to 50 percent. Public transport would operate with only 50 percent capacity.

For marriages or any sort of other social, cultural, political events, prior permission of one week would have to be obtained by applying online at the official portal.

The inter-state transport would remain operational, the government said. People returning from high load states were advised to carry COVID-19 negative reports and obey home-quarantine rules strictly.

Orders for Government Employees from Department of Personnel

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COVID-19 Vaccination in India to Open for All Aged Above 18 Years in 3rd Phase: Govt

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All above 18 in india eligible for covid-19 vaccination

New Delhi-From May 1, 2021, everyone above the age of 18 would be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination, the Government of India decided today. As per the government, the decision has been taken as a good amount of coverage of vulnerable groups is expected by 30th April.

Pertinent to mention that a demand was being raised to open vaccination for all amid the peaking second wave of the pandemic which is proving to be deadlier than the first one. On Sunday, former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, had also written to Prime Minister Narender Modi to be more flexible in deciding eligibility for vaccination as it was the only hope. He had pointed out that when we look at the percentage of population instead of the absolute numbers, we see that only a small fraction has been covered so far. He had also suggested reworking on the current model adopted by the government. 

Singh had asked the Prime Minister to allow states to define who qualifies as a ‘frontline worker’.  Many states wanted to designate bus and taxi drivers, school teachers, municipal and panchayat staff, and even lawyers as frontline workers to make them eligible for vaccination even if they are below the requisite 45 years of age.

Phase-I of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy was launched on 16th January 2021, prioritizing vaccination of Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs). Phase-II was initiated from 1st March 2021, focusing on the most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80% of Covid mortality in the country. The private sector was also roped in to augment capacity.

So far, Emergency Use Authorisation has been granted to two indigenously manufactured vaccines (Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech), and a third vaccine (Sputnik) that while presently manufactured abroad will eventually be manufactured in India, the GoI said.

The government said that in its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage, the GoI said. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international. It would also make pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines open and flexible, allowing all stakeholders the flexibility to customise to local needs and dynamics, the GoI said.

The main elements of the Phase 3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination program that would come in effect from 1st May 2021

(i)      Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Govt. of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to State Govts. and in the open market (hereinafter referred to as other than Govt. of India channel).

 (ii)    Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts. and in the open market, before 1st May 2021. Based on this price, State governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel. Private Vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18.

(iii)    Vaccination will continue as before in Govt. of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age.

(iv)    All vaccination (through Govt. of India and Other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting and all other prescribed norms. Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres will also have to be reported in real-time.

(v)     The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India and 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, the Government of India will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilized in the other than Govt. of India channel.

(vi)    Govt. of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criterion and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States adequately in advance.

(vii) The Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.

(viii) This policy would come into effect from 1st May 2021 and will be reviewed from time to time.

Feature Photo: ivvndiaz/unsplash

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