Your next cup of stress-busting, immunity-boosting tea could be much closer to the source. After six months of being off limits to tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal are finally open.
The West Bengal government has granted hotels and restaurants in Darjeeling and Kalimpong, except those in containment zones, permission to resume their services. They will have to strictly follow social distancing norms and maintain hygiene. Keeping a room vacant for three days before the next occupancy, a ban on buffets, thermal checks, masks and gloves are some of the precautions hotels plan to take.
Nearly 15 percent of the population in Darjeeling and Kalimpong is dependent on tourism for livelihood. Every year, the region attracts more than 10 lakh tourists. As can be expected, revenue was severely affected by the restrictions on travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Quarantine rules for West Bengal
- Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Darjeeling, which advises asymptomatic persons to monitor themselves. Health Authorities will decide the quarantine requirement for symptomatic passengers on a case-by-case basis.
- All passengers must download the Aarogya Setu App.
- All passengers have to fill up and submit the declaration form using the Sandhane App developed by the Health and Family Welfare Department of West Bengal.
Here are some great places to stay in Darjeeling.
Sikkim to reopen to tourists in October
One of the first states to close its doors to tourists in March, Sikkim is expected to finally welcome them from October. The tourism department of the Himalayan state has come up with a draft proposal for the same, which says domestic tourists with pre-booked or package tours would be allowed initially. They will have to produce a COVID-19 negative test report at the border check posts.