The sun, sand and beaches of Goa have beckoned tourists all summer, with the state being under lockdown since March. However, as the country relaxes restrictions on movement and activity, the tiny state on the western coast is opening up for Indian tourists, starting July 2.
The state tourism department has granted permission to 250 hotels in Goa to resume operations, and has instituted a Standard Operating Procedure that the establishments must follow. Moreover, hotels and homestays that have not been granted permission to resume operations will not be able to offer bookings online and welcome visitors yet. Earlier in June, the government had invited applications from hoteliers who sought permission to reopen.
For tourists, it is mandatory that they pre-book their hotel stays, and carry a certificate with a COVID-19 negative test result from less than 48 hours prior to arrival, when they enter Goa. Alternatively, they will be tested on arrival and put under quarantine at a state-run facility till the test results are obtained. Those found to be COVID-19 positive will be given a choice of returning to their state of origin, or undergoing treatment for COVID-19 in Goa. Those who intend to stay with family or friends in Goa need to have proper documentation stating so. More information about entering Goa by road, air, or rail, and the guidelines to be followed can be found at the Goa State Tourism Department’s website.
Apart from hotels and homestays, only a few restaurants have been allowed to reopen, much to the disappointment of tourism groups in the state. It was reported last week that Goa’s churches are allowed to reopen and conduct prayer services as long as social distancing norms are followed. As of June 15, museums showcasing the state’s colonial history and its influence on Goan culture had not received permissions and guidelines to reopen. As things stand today, some private museums like the Museum of Goa have reopened, but public institutions like the Goa State Museum in Panaji still await a Standard Operating Procedure to throw open doors to the public.