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Thursday, August 13, 2020

COVID-19: Top tourist hotspots in Karnataka ask hotels, homestays to shut operation

On Monday, Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi had appealed to people, especially those traveling from Bengaluru, to not flock districts like Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, and adjoining hilly areas.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Madikeri | Updated: July 8, 2020 8:35:37 am
Abbey Falls, located around 10 kilometers away from the town of Madikeri, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Coorg. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

With the threat of the coronavirus looming large, tourist hotspots in Karnataka such as Kodagu (Coorg), Chikkamagaluru, and Hassan have asked all homestays, hotels, and resorts to not take any new guests and shut their businesses till further notice.

On Monday, Karnataka Tourism Minister C T Ravi had appealed to people, especially those traveling from Bengaluru, to not flock districts like Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, and adjoining hilly areas.

Issuing an order, Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy stated that all resorts, hotels, service apartments, residential hostels, and homestays should stop giving rooms or accommodation to people outside the district.

“Those who have already arrived at accommodation places must not be forcibly vacated and they must be allowed to stay till the last date of the booking, but the dates must not be extended. Those guests who have booked and have not come must be asked to cancel their bookings and refund should be initiated,” the order stated.

Earlier, the district administration was criticised by the residents for not closing down resorts and homestays despite rising COVID-19 cases. Fearing the virus, few resorts and homestays in the district had closed their business before district administrations issued the orders.

Kodagu, which is about 260 km from state capital Bengaluru, is a hill station known for its waterfalls, national parks, wildlife, and temples. After the lifting of lockdown and easing of inter-district border restrictions, the tourist flow increased in the area, with most of the tourists coming from Bengaluru. Kodagu has nearly 800 registered and more than 2,000 unregistered homestays which are run by families at their residence and 500 hotels and lodges. These homestays and hotels generate employment to around 50,000 people.

There are 82 active COVID-19 cases in Kodagu with just one death reported so far. The administration has declared 36 containment zones in the district.

Meanwhile, Hassan and Chikkamagaluru district administrations have also closed the resorts and homestays.

On July 3, Hassan Deputy Commissioner R Girish issued orders for the closure of all resorts and homestays in Sakleshpur, Belur, and Alur taluk limits in Hassan district.

Following the increase in footfall, Chikkamagaluru district administration issued an advisory to people to cancel their tour plans. Deputy Commissioner Dr Bagadi Gautham noted that many were visiting Mullayyana Giri, Baba Budangiri, and Seethalayyana Giri areas.

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