ONLY 50% CAPACITY WILL BE ALLOWED; ENTRY ONLY TO FULLY VACCINATED STAFF, CUSTOMERS & THOSE HAVING RTPCR REPORTS
MAPUSA / PANAJI
After getting a green signal from the State Task Force on Covid management, the State government on Saturday took the gamble to start operation of casinos from Monday (Sept 20) with 50 per cent capacity.
Allied tourism-related activities such as river cruises, spas and massage parlours will also be allowed to function with half the capacity but nightclubs and EDMs will have to wait for some more time.
“The members of the task force met and found the Covid infection positivity rate below two percent. After taking all aspects into consideration the government decided to start tourism-related activities in the State with 50 per cent capacity. Casinos, river cruises, spas and massage parlours will start from Monday,” Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant said.
However, music shows including electronic dance music (EDMs) and nightclubs will not be allowed yet, he said.
He further said that all the customers visiting the casinos and other allied tourism-related activities will have to be either fully vaccinated or produce their RTPCR report.
The CM said that no decision has been taken on re-opening of schools in the State.
“The expert committee will meet again and take an appropriate decision on reopening of schools,” Sawant said.
Earlier in the day, the State’s Task Force on Covid said it was okay to open up casinos and nightclubs from Monday and suggested the government open up most economic activities.
According to Dr Shekhar Salkar, a member of the task force, the Covid situation is under control in the State which is the reason why the government has been advised to commence all economic activities.
Minutes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted at a new dawn of tourism amid the pandemic, Ports Minister Michael Lobo was the first off the block demanding resumption of casinos in the coastal state.
“Goa economic activity will increase with re-opening of casinos. Our request is that the casino activity should start as soon as possible in the interest of tourism,” the Calangute MLA told reporters soon after Modi’s address.
Lobo argued that the Captain of Ports, which functions under his portfolio, had granted permissions for resumption of leisure boating services.
Casinos, which in recent years, have been emerging as one of the leading attractions of Goa’s tourism sector, have been shut since May 9 when the State government shut down almost all economic activity in the wake of the devastating second wave of infections.