After a long and arduous period of many months since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Himachal Pradesh has finally opened its borders to everyone. In a revised notice issued by the Himachal Pradesh Government on 17th September, the boundaries of Himachal Pradesh are accessible to everyone irrespective of the state they are coming from. The incoming tourists are no longer required to procure e-passes or COVID negative certificates to make hotel or homestays bookings in advance.
Further, quarantine requirements will be as prescribed by the department of health and family welfare from time to time. This long awaited decision was taken by the Jairam Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
If incoming people or a group of tourists have some symptoms of coronavirus, they will be stopped at the border with immediate effect and they will undergo further tests in the hospital. The covid positive patient admitted in the hospital will be isolated for the next ten days at home without testing in case symptoms persist even after ten days.
The movement of interstate buses still remains suspended until further notice. However according to some sources, the operation of interstate buses will begin after 1st October. There would be another cabinet meeting held during the last week of September or first week of October to decide on the interstate movement of buses. The priority would be to run buses to Haridwar and Chandigarh when the interstate operations begin.
This comes as a huge relief to the tourism industry and sectors in Himachal Pradesh which were still reeling under the negative effects of lockdown and restrictions due to coronavirus. Many regions in Himachal Pradesh are offering incentives for tourists to visit the state, most notably being “Parvati Valley” where homestays and hotels are offering tourists a 50% discount during the period of their stay.
Following some strong backlash from the residents of Uttarakhand, the Government of Uttarakhand has decided that COVID negative certificate and checks would not be necessary for everyone. Pregnant women, kids younger than ten years of age, senior citizens and elderly, businessmen, tradesmen, VIPs, members of the judiciary, and other government authorities and officials would not require necessary COVID checks at the border. Further, people who have lost someone(death), or members of the home being sick, returning back to take care of their family members and re-entering Uttarakhand after some work in other states won’t need to go through COVID checks.
The COVID negative certificate and COVID checks at the Uttarakhand border would be absolutely necessary for incoming tourists and also for cast and crew who are coming for film shooting.