The Uttarakhand forest department has decided to ban entry of tourists into the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) without a Covid-19 test confirming their negative status, said forest officials.
The tourists, said forest officials, will have to get the RT-PCR test done 96 hours before the visit to the park.
Kalyani (who goes by her first name), deputy director of the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR), said, “Online booking for safari in Corbett will start from September 10. The park will be open for tourists from October 15, 2020.”
“We have decided to follow the guidelines of the Central and state government regarding visit of tourists to check coronavirus infection inside the CTR” she said.
Tourists have also been advised to follow all safety rules.
“Tourists should follow the lockdown rules like wearing masks, use hand sanitisers and maintain social distancing in the CTR,” said Kalyani.
“It is important to follow the rules of lockdown while moving inside the park. Only four tourists will be allowed in one gypsy,” she said.
Generally, six tourists are allowed in one gypsy, but in view of the pandemic, said Kalyani, only four tourists will be allowed to sit in a gypsy.
“Hotel, resorts, guesthouse rooms, gypsies will be sanitised after every visit of tourists. The staff has also been directed to follow the lockdown rules strictly,” she said.
Deepak Budhani, a gypsy owner from Ramnagar, said, “Corbett’s online booking will increase tourism activities. People suffering from a financial crisis due to Covid-19 will get a lot of relief.”
“The CTR administration should open all gates of the reserve with a strict following of the lockdown rules. The livelihood of a lot of people in Uttarakhand is dependent on tourism, especially when it comes to Corbett,” he said.
All tiger reserves, sanctuaries and national parks, including the Corbett Tiger Reserve, had to shut operations on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In unlock 4, online bookings for the CTR have been opened again.