Images of mask-less tourists crowding hill stations have finally woken up authorities from their slumber, with the administration in Shimla deciding to impose restrictions to curb the influx of those looking for a getaway.
Keeping in mind the possible third wave of coronavirus, the administration has decided that except senior citizens, no one will be allowed to sit on the popular spots of Mall Road and the Ridge. Most benches put up at these places will be removed and only the elderly will be allowed to use the ones remaining. The number of people at these places will also be restricted to ensure Covid-19 protocol is followed.
Shimla DC Aditya Negi, in an order, said police would be deployed at the entry points for the Mall Road and the ridge to control the crowds. The tourists would also be made aware of protocol such as wearing masks and practising social distancing to avoid spread of infection.
After photos of huge crowds caught the nation’s attention — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi — Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur warned against the violation of the government-mandated norms such as social distancing and wearing of masks. “We want tourists to visit our state but they must follow Covid protocols," the Chief Minister was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
“Recently, a number of tourists towns including Shimla, Manali, Dharamshala saw a high tourist inflow. We have ordered districts to deploy police force to regulate and monitor traffic and warn people against venturing into rivers during rains," Mr Thakur said.
A few days ago, the Uttarakhand Police sent 8,000 tourists back from Mussoorie and Nainital to avoid overcrowding amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, according to reports. Border checkpoints have also been set-up by the police to control the flow of people visiting famous tourist locations.