Kodagu containing famous tourist spots such as Coorg, Nagarahole National Park and Raja’s Seat has banned tourist entry, but resorts, hotels and homestays have been allowed to remain open.
An order issued by Deputy Commissioner Charulatha Somal on Saturday prohibited the entry of tourists until April 20. Kodagu is blessed with many tourist destinations, and many visitors, including those from Kerala, usually throng the sites.
Somal said any violation of her order was punishable under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Kodagu has been surging, especially in areas bordering Kerala. The Deputy Commissioner said the infection would spread fast in the district if entry of tourists from neighboring states were allowed.
The order also mentions that the places of worship as per Centre’s COVID-19 guidelines have to abide by the safety protocols set up. Moreover, definite routes have been identified that connect the district to Kerala. Those coming from Kerala have to show their RT-PCR negative report that was taken 72 hours prior to the entry.
Although tourist spots are closed, the resorts, hotels and homestays have been allowed to remain open and operate. “This is to clarify that only tourist spots in Kodagu are closed. There is no blanket ban on tourism in the district. Resorts, Hotels and Homestays are permitted to operate and follow COVID-19 Appropriate Practices of masks, sanitisation and social distancing. The decision has been taken in the interest of public health and we thank everyone for their support and cooperation,” said Deputy Commissioner Charulatha.
The district administration has taken this decision seeing the possibility of a rise in tourist footfall with a series of holidays in the coming days. Since the beginning of March, Karnataka especially Bengaluru has been seeing a fresh surge of cases. Kodagu district reported 6,167 cases until March 3. As of April 3, the number of cases reported stood at 6,394 cases.
With this, Kodagu has become the first district in the current COVID-19 wave to ban the entry of tourists.
Owing to the fear of the second wave of Covid-19, the number of tourists has dwindled considerably, at the tourist spots in the district, from last one week.
There were less number of visitors at Raja Seat, Talacauvery, Nisargadhama, Dubare, Bhagamandala, Mandalpatti and other places of interest in the district.