COLVA: While Goa’s health minister is mulling over new SOPs due to the marked increase in Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring states, the violation of pandemic norms in Salcete’s coastal belt is alarming.
Tourists and business establishments along Salcete’s popular beaches, like Benaulim and Colva, can be seen practising none of the required restrictions. The beach stretches play host to thousands of tourists from all over the country.
A visit to liquor outlets in these areas is frightful, with close to no one wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. The proprietors, too, are not seen demanding that customers wear masks before entering the premises. There are no sanitisers seen placed at the stores either.
“I do not wear a mask as I have no symptoms, hence not a threat to anyone,” said a tourist, bluntly, when asked about the lack of caution being shown. Yet another tourist responded that he “is fit and does not require to wear a mask or maintain social distance”.
On December 3, the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had stated that “irresponsible people” were driving the coronavirus pandemic in India.
“I would not say younger or older people, instead I would say irresponsible people, who are not using face masks and not maintaining social distancing are the ones who are driving the pandemic in India,” he had said.
The beach stretches of Salcete appear to be witness to just such behaviour.
Another tourist with his mask dangling on his ear said, “It is suffocating and I am inhaling my own carbon dioxide. Moreover, I have come from Delhi to Goa to breathe fresh air.”
“Business has been bad for a whole year and now too, it peaks for a few days and then slows down. If we enforce wearing of masks, tourists feel insulted. We will lose whatever business we make as customers or tourists go next door or across the street to make their purchases,” said one store owner.