New Delhi (NVI): Spiti Valley located in high altitudes of Himachal Pradesh will open its doors for tourists from February 17, after remaining closed for nearly 11 months to contain COVID-19.
The Spiti Tourism Society in a statement has said that, “The Spiti Valley will now re-open for tourism from February 17, 2021. We will welcome the tourists. The Spiti can’t stay without the tourists.”
It added that with the support of all the stakeholders and the community leaders it have been decided to reopen the valley for tourism.
The order comes with a strict set of standard operating procedures (SOP) that must be followed by people entering into the Spiti valley.
“These are mandatory and applicable for winter alone and will be revised for summer starting from April,” the statement read.
However, the tourists will not be permitted to enter Khibber village, and Khibber wildlife habitat. This is because the village has decided against hosting travellers at this time.
“All the tour operators need to ensure that all travellers going to Spiti have gotten their RAT or RT-PCR test done from an authorised lab or hospital. The test needs to be taken 72 to 96 hours before reaching the valley,” the society said statement.
Under the SOPs, the travellers who are entering into Spiti independently, including drivers, must report to a government hospital to take a rapid test. “Hotels and homestays need to ensure that all guests have been tested before they venture outdoors,” it said.
Also, social distancing must be maintained at all times, at all costs, and individuals must wear masks outside of their rented accommodation.
The society further informed that vigilance committees have been formed locally who shall ensure compliance of SOPs.
Notably, the tribal valley had closed down doors for outsiders last year in March end attributed to COVID-19 pandemic.