Himachal Pradesh Relaxes Lockdown Norms for Tourists

The new guidelines allow travellers to stay for just two days while carrying a 96-hours-old COVID negative test result
The state has already received thousands of applications for e-passes
The state has already received thousands of applications for e-passes

Taking steps towards reviving tourism in the mountain state, the Himachal Pradesh government has relaxed its lockdown norms for tourists. The interstate e-movement passes will stay in place but its issuance will be streamlined for an easier experience for the visitors. The decision was made during a cabinet meet chaired by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. During the meeting, the state government also decided to reduce the minimum stay. 

The new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) state that the mandatory stay has been reduced to two days from five days, and no COVID-19 test is required for children below the age of 10, while the negative test report carried by adults can be up to 96 hours old.

The IT department will have a separate category of applications under the &lsquotourist category&rsquo. These will be resolved within 24 hours of filing, failure of which will be deemed to have been approved.

The drivers of taxis or private vehicles carrying tourists will be exempt from quarantine. In the case of a guest testing positive, the particular room will remain sealed for 24 hours after cleaning.

The state government&rsquos changes follow the central government&rsquos latest guidelines on Unlock 3.

&ldquoEarlier, the COVID-19 negative report was not to be more than 72 hours old before the visits. Now, the time has been increased to 96 hours,&rdquo said Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj.

&ldquoNo one can enter the state without an e-pass. All interstate movement will be monitored through the prevailing registration process. Any person keen to visit Himachal Pradesh can enter his or her particulars on this software and they will get permission on priority,&rdquo he added.

With the revised guidelines, the state plans to boost its tourism industry which had received a footfall of 172 lakh, including 3.83 lakh foreigners, last year. Himachal Pradesh has recorded a COVID-19 tally of 5,154 till date. 

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