Fearing covid, Kodagu orders closure of tourist accommodation in district

Fearing covid, Kodagu orders closure of tourist accommodation in district

The Kodagu administration on Tuesday ordered the closure of all resorts, hotels, and homestays in the district to discourage tourists from flocking to this coffee-growing region popularly known as Coorg, in view of a rise in covid-19 cases in Karnataka.

With a sharp surge in cases reported from across the state, the directive appears to be a prelude to the possibility of reimposition of restrictions on inter-district movement.

In a notification, Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy has ordered resorts, hotels, and homestays against accepting reservations from people outside the district, state, or country.

The order comes a day after the Kodagu reported its first covid-19–related fatality. It now accounts for 78 of the 25,317 cases recorded across Karnataka.

Kodagu, about 225 km from Bengaluru, saw a surge in cases along with the rest of Karnataka forcing authorities to clamp down on certain relaxations that allows free movement of people.

“The restriction has been put into place over the insistence of locals and association of hospitality operators,” C. T. Ravi, Karnataka’s minister for tourism.

He said the district administration would have taken the decision based on the situation there. Operators of resorts and homestays had earlier appealed to the government to allow partial reopening of services, to help these establishments sustain themselves and make up for piling losses due to the three months of covid-19–induced lockdown.

They had even started promoting ‘workations’, which refers to a form of tourism where people would work while on holiday. This was expected to help bring in some business.

Ravi, the tourism minister, said such tourism, though, could trigger a clash between locals and tourists over the fear of spread of covid. He, however, denied the possibility of banning inter-district movement, at least for the time being.

The lifting of inter-district movement saw tourists flocking to resorts close to Bengaluru such as those in Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu.

But people with travel history to Bengaluru have tested positive in other districts, sparking fears that residents of India’s technology capital may be carrying and spreading the virus.

Chikkamagaluru, another coffee-growing destination about 250 km from Bengaluru, had also restricted tourists after videos of locals waylaying tourists went viral on social media.

Ravi said even operators of resorts and homestays made a plea to the district administration to place a temporary ban on tourists to help contain the possibility of the spread of coronavirus.

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