Himachal Government defers opening of hotels, temples

CM says if people prefer not to travel in HRTC buses, the govt will review decision within a week

Himachal Government defers opening of hotels, temples

The deserted Bajjreshwari temple at Kangra.

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, June 7

With a rise in coronavirus cases, the state government has decided to defer opening of hotels and temples as it will be better to wait for some more time to prevent the spread of the virus.

Talking to The Tribune, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today said seeing the reluctance of hoteliers to resume operation despite nod from the government, it has been decided to put on hold the proposal for some time.

We have decided to open hotels for visitors only once our hoteliers ask us to do so. Though any person from within the state is allowed to stay in hotels, people are hesitant to stay anywhere away from their homes," — Jai Ram Thakur, CM

“We have decided to open hotels for visitors from other states only once our hoteliers ask us to do so. Though any person from within the state is allowed to travel and stay in hotels or guesthouses, people are hesitant to stay anywhere away from their homes,” he said.

Though there were fears that it would be difficult to control passengers to ensure social distancing on resumption of public transport, the occupancy, on the contrary, has been very low since it was resumed from June 1.

Very few private operators are plying buses, considering high operational cost with no profits, leaving the responsibility solely on the government buses.

He said despite efforts to open and resume normal operations in every sector, there was reluctance among people to step out of the safe confines of their homes.

“Though we have resumed operation of the HRTC on all routes across the state, people’s response has been poor as the occupancy is merely 10 to 15 per cent in the buses,” he said.

He added that the positive side of low occupancy would be adherence to social distancing despite allowing 60 per cent occupancy.

“In case people still prefer not to travel much, expect in emergency, we will review the decision within the next one week,” said Thakur.

The Chief Minister said it had also been decided to put on hold the decision to throw open the temples which had been lying closed since March. It would be done when it was felt that the cases had stabilised.

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