Muskaan Thakur & Pooja Patel
After months of complete lockdown, tourism and F&B industries are finally resuming operations in some countries with caution.
Here is a list of what has opened up where, around the world.
Sri Lanka is set to welcome tourists from August 1. All the travellers must meet certain conditions; pass a COVID 19 test prior to departure and upon arrival, stay for at least five days and choose a hotel listed on Sri Lanka Tourism’s website.
The Maldives will allow entry to foreign tourists from India and other Asian countries in July 2020. The visitors will not be charged any additional fees such as extra tourist visa charges and landing fees. The visitors will be issued a Safe Tourism License by the government.
Portugal, a country that is heavily dependent on tourism, was among the first few countries to welcome foreign travellers. Entry into Mainland Portugal is allowed without having to be quarantined. You will have to undergo a health check-up though. The tourism board has launched the Clean & Safe program to prevent any further contagion. Free tests conducted in Azores and Madeira where you must test negative to enter the place.
Being a country that was once most severely affected by COVID 19, Italy is bouncing back and emerging as tourist’s paradise, like it always was. Theatres, cinema, concert halls, etc are set to open after June 15. People can visit Italy without being quarantined. Sicily, an Italian island even declared that it will cover half of the tourists’ flight cost, a third of their hotel expenses and give away free museum tickets.
Jamaica, an island in the Caribbean that lives on tourism, is set to allow entry to international tourists on June 15. The government has launched a ‘Five Point Recovery plan’ to revive tourism. Health and safety protocols are being developed along with COVID 19 safety and security infrastructure, including Personal Protective Equipment, machines, and tools.
The Nordic island of Iceland will welcome international tourists from June 15. To enjoy its dramatic landscape, you will have to prove that you are healthy by clearing the health check at the airport. If you test COVID positive, you’ll have to practice self-isolation for 14 days.
After managing the pandemic successfully, Greece is back in the tourism business, The government launched a two-month plan to gradually dive into normalcy. Shops, salons, bookstores, etc started opening in early May. Whereas shopping malls and archaeological sites opened on May 18. Hotels and summer cinema resumed operations from June 1. Museums will start from June 15 and cultural events in open areas will start on July 15. Greece will welcome visitors from June 15 as international flights will resume operations there.
At home, in India, after a hiatus of almost three months, the nation is now gradually opening up, except the containment zones.
Delhi will see malls, restaurants and religious places opening up with 50 per cent seating capacity in restaurants. Hand sanitizers will be placed at the entrance of places of worship and malls and every visitor will be screened for fever or any other symptoms.
Out of the 100 odd malls in the Capital, many have installed UV sterilization chambers, where the belongings of the shoppers will be disinfected; while a few have reduced the carrying capacity of the elevators by around 25 per cent.
Banquets and hotels, however, will remain closed as they might be converted into hospitals in the near future to treat people with COVID-19.
Chandigarh has opened its malls along with microbreweries, hotel chains and food courts. Wearing masks and social distancing at all these places are mandatory. The night curfew from 9 pm to 5 am for the movement of non-essential items is still in place.
In Hyderabad, hotels, restaurants, hospitality establishments and shopping malls are now open, but loitering in the malls is not allowed. Patrons can shop for clothes and accessories, but without trying them on.
The Telangana state government has made wearing of masks in public places, social distancing and periodic deep sanitisation of common facilities compulsory. Hyderabad will likely have disposable menus cards.
Most of Bengaluru’s restaurants are not providing physical menus cards but instead using QR codes to scan and share menus with the guests. Digital transactions are becoming a norm and sanitising all the common touchpoints and tables a must-follow routine.
Smaller malls will take a few days to open as the retail store owners are in the process of installing the necessary sanitisation facilities.
Ahmedabad is likely to see only a handful of restaurants open up as the curfew time of 9 pm to 5 am be a deterrent for the industry. Waiters in the eateries will have to wear face masks and face-shields; tables and chairs will be disinfected after every use and guests will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms.
As inter-state travel in India opens up, the hospitality sector can also look forward to resuming operations. Hotels across many states have started welcoming guests. The good old aarti and tika ceremony has been replaced by temperature checks. At JW Marriott Kolkata, the guest’s luggage is thoroughly disinfected before being placed inside the security scanner.
At the ITC group of hotel’s properties in Bengaluru, guests are sent self-declaration forms before their stay with the hotel and are requested to fill and duly sign these before a physical check-in process.
No hotel staff accompanies the guests to their room anymore and room service is divided into two types. In option one the food is dropped outside a guest’s room and in option two the food is carried in a wheeled trolley.
Suryagarh, the heritage property in Jaisalmer has found a unique way to attract customers. The hotel is offering exceptional rates, which one can book at until July 31, 2020 and can redeem anytime from when the travel ban is lifted to July 31, 2021. A few Marriott properties, including Marriott Delhi and Accor Hotels have also introduced a similar stay offer.