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HP govt lifts Covid e-pass condition, allows tourists

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh government on Friday relaxed Covid e-pass condition for allowing inter-state mobility but imposed new curbs including mandatory registration by the individuals seeking entry to the state.

The state government early this week had written to the Ministry of Home affairs asking for continuation of the COVID -e-pass condition, which the Centre did not agree as per guidelines of unlock 2.0.

The tourists can also visit the state under same conditions along with a report of their Covid test from their native towns.

The tourists will also have to produce their medical report (Covid-negative) and minimum five-day booking at the hotels.

The hotel industry, however , has not clearly spelt out the plans to open their operations.

"We are waiting the SoPs.Once, we get the guidelines, appropriate decision will be taken. Well if they (govt) does'nt allow the tourists to move outside the hotels, it's not going to serve any purpose.Goa and Uttrakhand have such a protocol," said Sanjay Sood, president of Shimla Hoteliers and Restaurants association.

He also raised apprehensions about local villagers objecting to mobility of the tourists and outsiders to places. Some panchayats have already put up barriers banning outsiders entries to the villages.

The tourism industry has suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 3000 crore due to lockdown. Some of the hoteliers have run into serious troubles as they had already paid the lease money. They have also laid off most of the staff as they were unable to pay the salaries and meet expenditures on account of charges like electricity and water bills.

Some of the hoteliers are ready to open the operations but feel scared about adverse impact on the industry if the number of Coronavirus cases keep rising.

There is also still ban on inter-state movement of the public transport and air travels also remain suspended.

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