Nainital still Buzzing With Tourists as Govt Struggles to Enforce Covid Rules

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Despite strict provisions put in place to regulate the inflow of tourists in Nainital, people from neighbouring states are thronging the Uttarakhand city. Nainital Police have managed to ease the traffic problem to some extent over the weekend after diverting incoming vehicles to different routes with designated parking. The mandatory negative Covid test report and pre-booking of hotels for entering the city have also helped in filtering tourists.

However, these steps have not translated into adherence to the Covid-19 protocols. A video shared by news agency ANI revealed that Nainital is still packed with tourists who continue to violate the Covid-19 guidelines such as social distancing and wearing face masks. The video shows a restaurant crowded with tourists. In the later part of the video, people are walking without masks in a local market while also flouting the social distancing norms.

The visuals of tourist places being packed with visitors also drew sharp reaction from the Uttarakhand High Court which directed the state government to review its decision to relax the Covid-19 restrictions during the weekend. In its July 7 order, the court expressed its concern that the heavy influx of tourists at Nainital and other popular tourist attractions could activate the Delta Plus variant in the state.

Following the court order, the state chief secretary directed all the district magistrates and commissioners to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols. Police are also checking that every incoming visitor has brought an RT-PCR negative report with them. Some tourists are terming this as harassment by authorities. One tourist, who was stopped at a checkpoint, said that he had come from Faridabad and was waiting to enter since morning. The authorities, however, reasoned that people who do not have negative Covid-19 test reports are being sent back.

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