Dehradun diary: All that's happening in 'Land of the Gods'

DEHRADUN: After a large number of tourists flocked to Uttarakhand, the state government has ordered the District Magistrate to control the weekend crowd in all the tourist places of the state.

According to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by Chief Secretary Sukhbir Singh Sandhu on Monday, the district administration has been given the responsibility to control the weekend crowd in all the tourist places of the state.

The District Magistrate will also ensure that tourists in tourist places compulsorily follow the rules of physical distance, wearing masks and sanitizing hands. “If the situation worsens in the tourist places of Uttarakhand now, then the District Magistrate will be responsible. They have been authorized to take the decisions regarding the crowds on weekends,” the guidelines read.

“According to the capacity of these tourist places for crowd control and the geographical conditions, what percentage of tourists can be allowed to move or visit or else the District Magistrate concerned will be free to decide whether to impose any restrictions,” it reads.

The District Magistrate will also ensure strict action against those who violate the rules. As per the SOP, all persons coming from outside the state will be allowed entry only with a negative report of RTPCR, True Net, CBNET, or Rapid Antigen Test of a maximum period of 72 hours. “All these will also have to compulsorily register on the Smart City Portal. For migrants coming to the villages of Uttarakhand from other states will have to stay in quarantine for seven days,” the SOP reads.

The old restrictions have been retained in the SOP issued by Chief Secretary Sukhbir Singh Sandhu. This comes amid concerns of COVID protocol violations at hill stations as state governments gradually lift lockdown restrictions.

Holiday destinations in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have seen a huge influx of tourists over the last few days. Several videos have surfaced online of large gatherings where many have been spotted without masks and minimal social distancing.

The Uttarakhand government has meanwhile extended the COVID curfew in the state till July 20. Restrictions will remain in force till 6 am on July 20. A cap of 50 people has also been imposed for weddings and funerals.

As per the union health ministry, there are currently 932 active COVID-19 cases in Uttarakhand. As many as 3,32,957 recoveries and 7,341 deaths have been reported in the state so far. A total of 49,31,189 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, including 39,30,271 first doses and 10,00,918 second doses.