The Government of West Bengal has opened the two tourist hotspots, Darjeeling and Kalimpong for public. After nearly six months of closure, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are now open for tourists. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists visits were not allowed.
Darjeeling and Kalimpong are now open for visitors
But now, Government of West Bengal has allowed all restaurants and hotels in Darjeeling and Kalimpong to resume business. Though there are restrictions to those hotels which fall in the containment zones. According to the state government’s regulations, restaurants will have to follow extremely strict social distancing norms and maintain higher levels of hygiene than earlier. Buffets will not be allowed until further notice and everyone in the hotel – guests and staff alike – will have to wear masks and gloves as well as go through temperature checks.
Around 10 lakh tourists visit the hills annually and the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy of these two places. Nearly 15 per cent of the population in the two hilly towns is dependent directly or indirectly on tourism for livelihood.
If you are planning on visiting our hills, you will be required to first download the Aarogya Setu App, which will make it easier for authorities to understand if you are healthy. You are also supposed to fill up and submit a declaration from using the Sandhane App, which is developed by the Health and Family Welfare Department of West Bengal. The state government also advises that asymptomatic people monitor themselves whereas the health authorities will decide the quarantine requirements for those showing COVID-19 symptoms on a case-by-case basis.
While West Bengal is opening up slowly, the entire state of Sikkim will be open to visitors starting October. However, you cannot just traipse into the state and backpack your way around like you used to. The Department of Tourism of the State Government of Sikkim has a draft proposal ready with strict guidelines on the dos and don’t’s while travelling to and within Sikkim. Only domestic tourists will be allowed into Sikkim and even within those, only those tourists who have a pre-booked or a package tour will be permitted to entre the state. Additionally, all tourists will be required to produce a COVID-19 negative test report at all entry points and at all the checkpoints along the state’s border.