Mobile courts will ensure health protocols at the reopened tourist sites
After a gap of nearly five months, tourist places in Bangladesh finally reopened on Thursday.
The move comes days after the government had eased Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on the movement of public transport services.
However, people will not be allowed to enter the tourist spots without face masks and everyone will have to follow all Covid-19-safety protocols, as per a government order.
In Rangamati, locals heaved a sigh of relief as they got the opportunity to restart their livelihoods with the reopening of hotels, motels, restaurants and tourist spots in the district.
Local people dependent on the tourists said they would be able to overcome the losses caused by the closure. As per an estimate of the Rangamati Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the tour operators suffered a cumulative loss of Tk2.15 crore.
Pre-lockdown, Rangamati Hanging Bridge, Polwell Park, Rangamati Sishu Park, Happy Island, Subolong Fountain, Echo Village and all other tourist sports remained abuzz with tourists the entire year.
Boat owner Alauddin Tutul at Kaptai Lake said: “The boat drivers were jobless due to the closure of tourist spots but we had to pay them regularly. Now we are happy with the reopening of the tourist spots.”
The district's Deputy Commissioner (DC) Mohammad Mizanur Rahman said: “The tourist spots have been reopened as per the government directives. The authorities concerned have been asked to ensure all health protocols at the sites. Besides, mobile courts will conduct drives regularly and penalise offenders."
In Natore, the tourist spots reopened for visitors on Thursday after a four-and-a-half-months closure.
Natore DC Shamim Ahmed opened the main gate of Natore Uttara Ganabhaban around 10am. However, the presence of visitors was low on the first day.
To keep the wheels of the economy rolling during the ferocious second wave of the pandemic, the government allowed reopening of all tourist spots, community centres, resorts and recreation with 50% capacity from August 19 and following all Covid-safety protocols.
On August 8, the government decided to ease the ongoing nationwide lockdown allowing shops, factories and offices to reopen from August 11.
Buses, trains and river vessels have been allowed to carry passengers in their full passenger capacities.
However, in regard to road transport, local administrations (Divisional Commissioners and DCs) have been empowered to allow half of the public transport vehicles to move every day after consulting the relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies.
Shopping malls, markets and shops have been allowed to reopen from 10am to 8pm following the health guidelines, while hotels and restaurants got the nod to operate from 8am to 10pm at 50% capacity.