Double vaccination certificate, Covid-negative tag must to book hotel at beach resorts
Tourists must furnish a negative RTPCR or RAT report for Covid-19 not older than 48 hours, or a double vaccination certificate, in order to be able to book a hotel at the beach resorts of Digha, Mandarmani, Sankarpur and Tajpur.
The Contai (East Midnapore) subdivision’s decision to allow at tourist spots only fully vaccinated visitors or those with a negative RTPCR/ RAT report is a first in Bengal.
The local administration was forced to impose the condition from Monday “to prevent the spread of the Covid virus and to arrest the positivity rate” after the beaches registered a turnout of around half a lakh tourists last weekend alone.
“Failure to comply with the aforementioned directions shall attract action under the relevant sections of law,” read a notice issued by the Contai subdivisional office.
East Midnapore has seen one of the steepest spikes in new infections over the past few days.
According to the state health department, the district recorded 87 cases of new Covid infections on Sunday and 75 on Monday, second only to North 24-Parganas. Even Calcutta recorded fewer new infections on those two days.
Tourists swarming the beaches during the weekends have become a major concern for the district administration.
Sources in the district magistrate’s office said that since pandemic-induced curbs on bus services were lifted, the frequency of tourists increased.
“The decision was taken in order to ensure that the number of Covid-19 cases in the district does not skyrocket because of the tourists,” said Sudipta Porel, additional district magistrate of East Midnapore who is in charge of tourism.
Hotels, lodges and stay-cottages have been informed to keep separate records of tourist documents.
They have also been asked to put up posters on Covid-19 awareness at every floor, corridor, hall, dining area, reception, lawn, among others, on their premises. Police must carry out “surprise visits” to ensure hotels are complying with the directive.
The Digha Sankarpur Hoteliers’ Association has called a July 17 meeting to discuss the new rules and the practical challenges that these could pose in the form of dwindling footfall or asymptomatic but infected tourists.