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Increased heights, decreased fear: Covid norms flouted blatantly

Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh saw enormous crowds of unruly travelers throwing Covid-19 norms such as wearing masks and social distancing to the wind. During the past week, Rohtang Pass, located above 13,000 feet, has averaged minimum temperatures of 7-10 degrees Celsius. After being closed for almost 18 months, Rohtang Pass is now open attracting thousands of tourists. Various tourists broke the Covid-19 guidelines at Rohtang, as in various other tourist destinations.

Responding to a question on why he was not wearing a mask, a Punjabi youth from Moga said,No, we are not afraid of another Covid-19 wave. Covid is nothing, and Punjabis do not fear Covid’. The tourists who thronged Rohtang Pass were mainly from New Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. An India Today team visited Madhi (12,000 ft) en route Rohtang Pass, where newly-wed couples could be seen paragliding.

Thakur Dass, who has been in the paragliding business for over a decade, believes adventure tourism has been negatively affected by this pandemic. By the end of July, their activities in Himachal Pradesh will cease. They have one month left to earn. The adventure tourism industry did not occur last year due to the fear that Covid-19 poses. However, Thakur Dass says the government is taking precautions. By July 15, the summer tourism season ends.

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Zipline rides have also become a popular adventure sport among couples in Manali, along with paragliding and river rafting. A hot air balloon ride and hiking are also popular activities for young people. However, predictions that a probable third Covid-19 wave may peak in August or September have everyone worried. The Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to open tourist spots was welcomed by the hotel and adventure tourism industries, but experts warn that massive crowds at tourist spots may lead to an increase in cases.


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