Eid is just around the corner and festivities are picking up. Lockdown restrictions have been eased and markets and malls have already begun to draw big crowds. In theory, the partial lockdown has been extended to May 31; in practice, it’s virtually non-existent.
Thinking that the stay-at-home rule is finally over, you may have planned leisure excursions to the northern areas to make the most of your 6-day Eid holidays. Who wouldn’t want that much-needed respite after being holed up inside the house for many weeks on end?
Sadly, you those plans won’t materialize. If you don’t already know, the administrations of the top tourist hotspots including Swat, Kaghan, Murree, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and Galiyat region, have ordered suspension of all tourism in their respective regions during the Eid holidays.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Swat, Saqib Raza Aslam, also made the announcement recently regretting that his district would not be able to host tourists this year. Owning to the spread of coronavirus, Swat’s hotels and restaurants have also been ordered to remain shut during Eid holidays, he informed.
Mr Raza Alam also announced that entry of tourists into the region will be banned this Eid with all tourist spots and entertainment venues to remain closed throughout the holidays.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also announced that all tourist activities will remain suspended during this Eid in the entire Kaghan valley.
A notification from the Kaghan Development Authority (KgDA) read that no tourist activity shall be initiated and carried out in the tourist areas till further notice, in light of the directions of the Chief Secretary, KP.
“Due to Covid-19 pandemic, all visiting spots, hotels, restaurants, parks, and other tourist activities will remain closed till further orders in the jurisdiction of the Kaghan Development Authority in the best interest of public safety,” the notification added.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has also made it clear that no tourist activity will be allowed in the Galiyat region either during the Eid holidays.
A notification on this from the Galiyat Development Authority, Abbottabad, KP, says that no tourist activities shall be initiated or carried out in the tourist areas of Galiyat till further notice.
“Keeping in view the above decision and prevailing emergency situation due to Covid-19 pandemic, all the public gathering points in Galiyat area including Ayubia Chairlift, public parks, rest areas, hotels, restaurants, rest houses, and other tourist resorts shall remain closed for Eid holidays till further orders,” the notification added.
Azad Jammu & Kashmir
The AJK home department has also suspended all tourist activities during Eid, stressing that the lockdown that was previously in place in the region will continue in the same effect.
According to a notification, the easing of lockdown and related exemptions, granted in a previous notification dated 24-04-2020, have been revoked and the prior restrictions have been re-imposed starting 18-05-2020 under the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Likewise, Murree has also banned the entry of tourists in the current Eid season owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
A public notice from the ASP of Murree circle has warned the tourists that Murree would be under complete lockdown starting 28th Ramazan (22-05-2020). During this time, the entry of tourists in the region would be completely banned, the notice added.
Too bad, eh? Well, it is for sure in the best interest of public safety. Covid-19 is highly contagious and can spread even through talking and breathing. And it doesn’t spare anyone, no matter what your age or gender.
Stay home, stay safe is the mantra, a rule of thumb to be followed this Eid. It’s tough, we know. But you’ll be showing true care for yourself and your loved ones by staying at home and keeping everyone else in the safety of the house.
There will be many more Eids for you to celebrate in the way that you have since your childhood. But these are unprecedented times and call for an unprecedented response from all of us. Let’s prove ourselves to be responsible citizens this time.