As a major influx of tourists is moving to the hills in search of some much-needed respite, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Friday appealed to tourists to follow COVID-19 norms.
Speaking to ANI, Jairam Thakur said, “We are concerned about the number of tourists coming to the state. Tourists are welcome here but I appeal to them to follow COVID-19 norms.”
“We need to save the tourism industry also. I held a virtual meeting with district officials and directed them to monitor and regulate the crowd. COVID-19 is not over yet. Hotels are being asked to follow SOPs,” he added.
Tourists have been thronging hills as the heatwave has hit the plains and the second wave of COVID-19 is seeing a significant decline in the country, although the gross violation of Covid-appropriate behaviour by visitors was accounted for in Haridwar on Friday.
While medical experts say that the nation is not yet out of the woods, some defiant tourists believe otherwise.
People bathing in the river Ganga at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar said that they are not afraid of COVID-19 and were confident that they “arrived before the third wave”.
“We feel like we have come out of jail after two years. There is a huge crowd. We are not scared of COVID-19. We have come here before the third wave,” a tourist said.
Haridwar city police official Abhay Singh said efforts are being made to bring awareness among people.
“We are trying to make people aware and we had a meeting with hotel and vanshala unions. Everyone wants to see Har ki Pauri. After a certain limit, we are requesting remaining travelers to not go to the ghat,” Mr Singh said.