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After almost a year of observing a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Himachal Pradesh government has finally permitted 320 homestays in Spiti Valley to open their doors for tourists.
This week, the state government alllowed 250 homestays in Spiti Valley and 70 in Kaza to reopen from February 17.
However, hotels in the valley will open in the second week of April. At present, the water supply of the hotels has been disrupted by sub-zero temperatures and intermittent heavy snow spells.
It will be mandatory for all homestay owners to follow all COVID-19 related protocols and standard operating procedures. Tourists will also be required to take the RT-PCR test 72 hours before entering the Spiti Valley.
Kaza-based additional district magistrate Gian Sagar Negi said that the decision to open up the homestays was taken after it was observed that tourists visiting the tribal region, especially those from outside the state, were facing inconvenience.
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However, the village of Kibber located in the higher regions of Spiti Valley is off-limits.
The General Secretary of Spiti Tourism Society, Lara Tsering, said that the snow leopard habitat at Kibber will be prohibited for tourists since there have been four deaths in the region due to COVID-19. Due to the deaths, the villagers have closed their village for tourists. In the last 14 days, no new COVID-19 cases have been reported from Spiti Valley.
Recently, a winter festival was organised by the local administration in Spiti. The event was a big hit but tourists had to stay at government rest houses because of limited accommodation.
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