The Mall Road in Nainital is decked up to ring in the New Year.(Raajiv Kala/HT PHOTO)
The Mall Road in Nainital is decked up to ring in the New Year.(Raajiv Kala/HT PHOTO)

Under the shadow of Covid-19, Uttarakhand preps for New Year celebrations

Hotels where tourists have already booked for the new year have been allowed to hold celebrations following Covid-19 protocols.
Hindustan Times, Dehradun | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON DEC 30, 2020 06:26 PM IST

The Dehradun district administration in Uttarakhand has relaxed guidelines for celebrations in hotels and restaurants, particularly for tourists who have booked themselves to celebrate the New Year.

“Celebrations in a simple manner following all Covid-19 protocols and social distancing will be allowed in only those hotels and restaurants where tourists have already made bookings for the New Year 2021. However, dancing using a DJ is strictly prohibited,” said an order issued Tuesday evening by Ashish Srivastava, district magistrate of Dehradun.

The order further mentions that in case of violations, hotel owners will be held responsible.

Sandeep Sahni, the president of the Uttarakhand Hotel Industry and Restaurant Association said, “Dehradun district administration has now given us some relaxations for celebrations on New Year’s Eve and New Year day. There are no such restrictions in other districts. We are ready to welcome tourists and will be conducting celebrations following all Covid-19 protocols.”

Tourist rush has also increased in the state due to a forecast of snowfall in the hills of Kumaon and Garhwal. The hill towns of Mussoorie and Dhanaulti have already seen a rush of tourists after the latter reported the season’s first snowfall on Monday. Lal Tibba in Mussoorie witnessed a brief spell of snow on Monday accompanied by hailstorm and intermittent rain.

The business community in Mussoorie has welcomed the relaxations given by the Dehradun district administration.

Sanjay Agarwal, secretary of Mussoorie Hotel Association said, ““The tourism industry has suffered a lot due to the pandemic and we thank the administration for providing relaxation for simple functions for in-house guests. The new year celebration is the major event for the industry as it will help generate the much-needed revenue.”

In a weather bulletin, India Meteorological department on Wednesday afternoon predicted that very light to light rainfall or snowfall is likely to occur at isolated places in Uttarakhand on January 2-3.

On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand government issued an order extending the Covid-19 guidelines till January 31, 2021.

An order issued by Om Prakash, chief secretary of Uttarakhand stated, “Keeping in view of the fresh surge in cases globally and emergence of new a variant of the virus in the United Kingdom, there is a need for maintaining caution and strict surveillance.”

The order further mentions that strict vigil is also needed to be maintained to prevent any fresh surge in cases “in the wake of upcoming New Year celebrations and ongoing winter season which are favourable for the spread of the virus.” District administrations have been asked to take appropriate measures in this regard.

The state government has allowed districts, based on their assessments of the situation to, “impose lockdown restrictions with a view to contain the spread of Covid-19, such as night curfew.”

District administrations have also been asked to ensure that Covid-19 appropriate behaviour of wearing masks, following social and physical distancing is followed by the public.

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