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Wednesday, 31 March, 2021, 17 : 30 PM [IST]

No curbs & no strict SOPs for tourists: Goa Ports Minister

Even as photos of tourism at full swing with blatant violation of Covid norms went viral on social media, eliciting angry reactions from citizens, Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo said on Tuesday that enforcing health protocols would deter tourists from coming to Goa.

He said that Section 144 didn’t apply to tourists. “If you make SOPs stricter and you harass tourists, which tourist will come to Goa? We have to take precautionary measures, but at the same time, you cannot stop business because Covid-19 cases are increasing,” Lobo said.

Lobo was asked why the state was not cracking down on tourists, particularly customers outside offshore casinos who were not wearing masks and standing in large groups.

“We cannot put stricter SOPs or curtail them from coming to Goa,” he told reporters outside the assembly complex. “If the state is getting GST today, it is because tourists are in Goa. If we get stricter than this, you will see the decline in the tourism belt. Tourists coming to Goa will decline.”

The Minister, who had opposed a move to make Covid-negative certificates mandatory for tourists, said that Goa’s economy survives on tourism. He said that the curbs introduced recently through the imposition of Section 144 had “nothing to do with tourism or to stop the tourists” who flocked to the state to celebrate Holi.

“Section 144 is not for them,” he said. “If by bringing in strong SOPs we stop these tourists from coming, youth who are currently employed will be stuck at home. Who will pay their salaries? Then, along with the Covid pandemic, the employment crisis will start.” (Source: Times of India)

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