With the government skirting the decision to impose lockdowns or limited curfews in economy's interest even as indications of a second wave of Covid-19 infections have seemingly set in, unrestricted vaccination of the workforce in Goa's tourism industry is begging the State government's attention.
Several industry captains have voiced the 'vaccine for all' demand in the tourism sector's workforce on Thursday.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's state president Sadanand Tanavade also voiced the demand saying the Goa government should focus on vaccinating workers from the tourism industry on priority.
What has made the situation alarming in Goa amid the spiking cases of Covid-19, particularly in Mumbai and neighbouring parts of Karnataka is that the State administration has consciously decided against imposing any restrictions on travel and has also kept the borders freely open in the interest of not disturbing the ongoing economic recovery in the tourism sector.
Apart from the personnel working in hotels, restaurants and clubs others who come in direct contact with visitors including taxi operators, bus drivers and conductors among others are also vulnerable and deserve to be included in the prioritized target group for vaccination, feel industry insiders.
Prominent Panaji hotelier, Gaurish Dhond, a former head of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) said it is not just the visiting tourist but many business travellers are also heading to Goa and a situation has arisen where the vulnerable workforce in the industry deserves to be given priority in the vaccination programme.
Dhond suggested that a dedicated vaccination arrangement for all workforce in the tourism sector could be set up.
Current TTAG chief, Nilesh Shah echoed Dhond's demand saying the government should take urgent steps to make arrangements for a vaccination programme dedicated to the hospitality workforce, irrespective of their age.
According to Cruz Cardozo of Cavelossim who heads an organisation of beach shack operators, said the employees at shacks constantly come in close proximity to visitors and clientele and need to be urgently vaccinated.