Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) [India], January 16 (ANI): Inflow of tourists has significantly declined at various places in Himachal Pradesh due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
Following a surge in COVID-19 cases across the country, hotel businesses at touristy places like Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj are now looking at their future with worrisome eyes.
Ashwani Bamba, president of hotels' Association Dharamshala said, "As the number of COVID-19 cases is rising, our business is declining day by day. Several tourists have cancelled their bookings. Almost 100 per cent of the advance bookings have been cancelled."
"We are afraid if the situation continues like this and becomes like the previous two years. People are not coming out mainly because of fear, panic and restrictions," he said.
Jaideep Singh, a local shopkeeper in McLeod Ganj said, "This place used to see traffic jams of up to one kilometre, especially during weekends. But after new restrictions and increasing number of COVID-19 cases, this road is empty now. Many people who are shopkeepers, taxi operators or hoteliers by profession here are unemployed now."
Hitesh, a local youth of McLeod Ganj said, "The situation is not good here due to COVID-19. Very few people are here during weekends now. Even local people are not coming out as they are also a bit afraid. It used to be a very crowded place, but now very few people can be seen around."
On January 9, the Himachal Pradesh government tightened its COVID-19 restrictions as infections in the state continue to escalate following which all government offices will remain closed on weekends.
Further, the state government banned all social, religious gatherings in the state.
"Considering the recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the State and after witnessing the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic which requires strict measures in order to contain its spread. Therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred under the Section 22(2)(h) and Section 24 of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the undersigned in the capacity of the Chairman, State Executive Committee (SEC), hereby directs that consolidated guidelines shall be in force in addition to the directions already issued by SEC w.e.f. 6 AM of 10 January, 2022 to 6 am of 24 January, 2022," the order copy said.
Himachal Pradesh logged 1,965 fresh COVID-19 cases on Saturday, thereby taking the state's total tally to 2,42,289. No fatality was reported due to this virus and the death toll stood at 3,872. (ANI)