Hotels, restaurants in Shimla to reopen only in September

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Shimla: Nearly 450 hotels and restaurants in the Himachal Pradesh capital will not be reopened till the middle of September.

A decision in this regard was taken by the Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association on Thursday.

Its members said they decided to open their hotels and restaurants in Shimla after following all standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the government.

They said the training of existing staff will be organised from the next week. Precautions required to be taken by the staff while serving and housekeeping will be a part of the training.

"Keeping in view the opinion of medical experts, we have decided to open the tourism units only after August in the larger interest of the public," it said in a statement.

However, it has been decided that the hotels situated near hospitals or the hotels which have occupancy dependent on locals may open their units.

It said hoteliers based in Manali, Dharamsala, Kasauli, etc, were also of the same opinion to open hotels only by mid-September.

The SOP advocates setting up of a rapid response management team, check in and check-out protocol for guests, room service, training of staff, besides providing amenities like sanitisers, masks and gloves to the visitors.

Himachal Pradesh's economy is highly dependent on tourism, besides hydroelectric power generation and horticulture.

Members of the hospitality industry say in recent times, they have never seen such a disaster as the arrival of tourists has almost stopped, and hotel bookings vanished as states closed their borders and imposed a lockdown.

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