Uttarakhand has witnessed quite a surge in COVID-19 cases just ahead of Maha Kumbh. Many tourists are being tested positive especially in the town of Rishikesh.
Experts say Haridwar and Rishikesh are emerging as the hotspots of the infection in Uttarakhand as per a report by Hindustan Times.
The COVID-19 fear was evident at Yoga City, Rishikesh when 76 people tested positive for the virus at a five-star hotel. Before that, 22 tourists part of a 50 member contingent from Gujarat who came to Rishikesh, tested positive for Covid-19. In another incident, 11 staff of a yoga resort also tested positive for the virus a few days ago.
Besides the apprehension that Mahakumbh could emerge as a superspreader, the incidents are worrying the hoteliers and people related to the hospitality industry in Rishikesh.
Hotel Business affected
Greater Rishikesh Hotels and Resorts Association president Vijay Bisht said to HT, “The rising number of cases among tourists is obviously a matter of concern for us. As more cases get reported, the more tourists will refrain from coming to Rishikesh, affecting our business which already hit a low last year due to lockdown during peak tourism season.”
Urging the government to conduct random Covid-19 tests on guests coming to the town and isolate them if found positive, Bisht said, “Shutting down a hotel if guests test positive is not the solution. It not only damages the reputation of the hotel but also sends a negative message among the tourists to not visit the place fearing the infection.”
“Instead, the government should isolate the people turning positive instead of creating a hype about the spread. The government should create fear but aware the people on taking precautions so as to curb the infection,” said Bisht adding that the hotels at their level are also taking all the necessary precautions.
He said that the hotels in the town are focusing on keeping their staff safe while asking them to follow all precautions strictly.
Another hotelier and founding member of Rishikesh Hotel Association, Sanjiv Goyal said, “The business is already down this season too.”
Goyal said, “Our business last year was almost nil as the hotels were closed due to the lockdown. This month too after Covid-19 cases have increased again, our business is dipping with most of the bookings being cancelled in the last few days.”