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Covid caution for hotels at seaside towns in Bengal

The directives were issued at a meeting between officials of the Digha Sankarpur Development Authority and hoteliers of Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur and Sankarpur
Tourists on the beach at Digha on Tuesday.

Anshuman Phadikar   |   Digha   |   Published 22.10.20, 01:28 AM

Authorities have issued a set of directives for hotel owners at seaside resort towns in East Midnapore district to ensure that social distancing and other novel coronavirus-related health norms are strictly followed during the festive season.

The directives were issued on Sunday at a meeting between officials of the Digha Sankarpur Development Authority and hoteliers of Digha, Mandarmani, Tajpur and Sankarpur. District administration and police officials were also present.

“A number of tourists are coming to the beaches without proper precautions. There is a high risk of contamination. That is why the hotel owners have been cautioned,” said Akhil Giri, the vice-chairman of the DSDA.

“Boarders at hotels and lodges will have to maintain social distance. The norms are to be maintained on roads and beaches as well. If people are found without masks, police will take necessary steps. Rooms will have to be sanitised twice a day,” he added.

A large section of the visitors flouts social distance norms and doesn’t wear masks on streets and beaches. The police are making regular announcements on the beaches, requesting people to keep distance amongst themselves even during bathing, but in vain.

The Digha police had already detained 100 tourists for flouting distancing norms or not wearing masks. They were later released.

“After the high court banned entry of visitors to puja pandals, there has been a spike in the number of bookings at Digha. The directives from the administration will help us rein in tourists violating Covid protocol,” a hotel owner said.

He added that the hoteliers were asked at the meeting to ensure that all visitors underwent thermal screening while they checked in. “With special trains between Digha and Howrah running since October 16, the number of tourists increased. It is only natural that the number will go up during Puja,” the hotelier said.

“I have asked all hotel owners in Digha to ensure tourists abide by social distancing and other health norms. It is their job to ensure that tourists follow rules,” said Bipradas Chakraborty, the joint secretary of the Digha Sankarpur Hoteliers’ Association.

“Our safety is our responsibility. Only if we all remain cautious, we can keep the coronavirus at bay,” he added.

Ten officials of the Digha police station, including the officer in-charge, three assistant sub-inspectors, two constables and a civic volunteer have already tested positive for coronavirus.

Till Tuesday, East Midnapore district recorded 13,430 Covid positive cases and 171 deaths. According to Chakraborty, there are around 600 hotels and lodges in Digha.

Krishnendu Pradhan, the officer in-charge of Digha police station, has been quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus.

While speaking to The Telegraph over the phone, he sounded concerned.

“Tourists have been flouting the rules and not listening to us. We have taken ill while being on duty. If hoteliers look into the matter strictly, there will be some improvement in the situation,” Pradhan said.

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