Kerala has opened out beaches, parks and museums to visitors from Sunday despite a sobering overall picture of Covid-19 infections surging to a third peak, though not quite reaching the 15,000-20,000 new daily infections feared would emerge in September-October following the Onam festivities.

The overall confirmed cases till date has breached the 4.25-lakh mark on Saturday, even while active cases have been contained to below the one-lakh till date. The death toll stood at 1,457, while the State topped the all-India charts with 7,020 confirmed on Thursday and 6,638 on Friday.

Strict adherence to SOP

Opening up of beaches and parks marks resumption of tourism activities after eight months in the State, with major tourist destinations and services having already gone on stream from October 10. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) will be strictly followed in houseboats, adventure spots and hill stations.

As per the SOP issued by the State government, visitors will have to wear mask, use soap and sanitiser and follow physical distancing at destinations. Tourists coming for visits of less than seven days are exempted from quarantine but should register on the Covid-19 Jagratha portal.

The Tourism Department officials would make extra efforts to ensure that the guidelines are followed to the last detail, said Tourism Director P Bala Kiran. Boards featuring dos and don’ts are being put up, and walkways, handrails and shelters would be be sprayed with sanitisers at regular intervals.

Online tickets/SMS booking likely

Tourism police will be posted, if necessary, to help Kudumbashree volunteers and lifeguards. A register will be kept at the entry for entering details of visitors. For parks and museums, online ticketing/SMS booking will be made available at gated entries. Vehicles will be allowed at parking areas for up to a maximum of one hour.

Strict instructions have been issued to street vendors to follow Covid-19 protocol. Cleaning and fumigation of toilets and restrooms will be taken up at regular intervals. Response at destinations open to business from October 10 has been encouraging with footfalls gradually increasing, said Rani George, Tourism Secretary.