GANGTOK: People who have taken both doses of the COVID vaccine can now visit Sikkim from July 5 as the state government on Sunday lifted the temporary ban on the entry of visitors from other parts of the country following a dip in fresh coronavirus cases.
The Sikkim government had prohibited the entry of tourists since March this year following a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The state Home Department, in a notification, said that fully vaccinated tourists can enter the Himalayan state through Rangpo in East Sikkim and Melli in South Sikkim after exhibiting their vaccination certificates at the border check-gates.
The state government also allowed hotels, guest houses and homestays to operate at 50 per cent capacity from Monday with strict adherence to COVID protocols.
Shopping malls, showrooms and shops have also been allowed to open at full capacity with strict compliance with safety guidelines.
All government offices can function with fully vaccinated employees, while staffers who have not yet received both the jabs can work with the present arrangement of 50 per cent attendance, the notification said.
All factories and commercial establishments can also operate at 100 per cent capacity provided the staffers are fully vaccinated, it said.
"The Sikkim Hotel and Restaurant Association (SHRA) welcomes the state government's decision to open the tourism industry, which is the mainstay of Sikkim's economy. We will ensure strict adherence to COVID guidelines," an executive member of the body told PTI.
He claimed that the state's tourism industry bore a loss of around Rs 600 crores last year due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
A total of 21,131 people have tested positive for the infection in the Himalayan state so far, of whom 2,101 are undergoing treatment, while 18,469 have recovered from the disease, 308 have succumbed to the infection and 253 have migrated to other states till Sunday, a health department bulletin said.