Not business as usual for Goa yet
We have just gone through the first week where the borders are fully open and anyone can come to Goa without docs or a test from any other part of India. Many people for obvious reasons have been against this controversial move. Have we seen a huge influx of visitors into Goa? Basically no. Some who have driven in their own cars to their own properties are trickling in, but 'tourists', no I don't think so. Not that I have personally seen anyway.
Reports show that the major bus services which started this week are suffering from lack of interest.
A 40 seater bus is allowed right now to bring 20 passengers due to social distancing, however most of them are running with a lot less passengers than that so services have been dramatically cut. Services have also resumed from Bangalore but again the same lack of interest it seems.
Bars are reopening but business is also slow right now, which is not so bad for them as they are running on limited staff. However it is making the state have a slightly more open feel as a few more spring to life daily.
We are generally still at home but we did get a little brave on friday and decided to visit Uncle Sams in Calangute for a quick bite. Bearing in mind Calangute rising cases we were slightly nervous. However that disappeared as we were greeted by the normal temp screening and sanitisation. We were then led (distanced) to a table at the rear of the restaurant. You could see all tables had plastic covering the white tablecloths to allow for easy sanitisation after each guest. we were then not handed a menu, instead a plastic board was put in the middle of the table and we were told to scan our own barcode and we would find the menu online. That was a very nice touch. OK not everyone would be able to do that but if 85% of customers can do that then that must be a bonus. The waiter then stood back as he took our order and food that came was also served with distancing in mind.
What impressed me was a very simple touch when it came to the washrooms, the handwash basin was now fitted with a convenient foot tap so there is no contact with the tap at all and paper towels were provided for hand drying. The place was spotless in its appearance. So if all places can do similar then eating out again may be a more pleasant experience when things start to open. the place filled up as the rain poured and lunch drew closer but all customers were sanitised appropriately and were given tables that were all well distanced. So all in all a good experience Uncle Sams have certainly taken time to implement the rules, let's see if all others follow and don't just open thinking that nothing has changed.
As for International travel - any development? No but I did read this interesting article care of Goan Voice.
Some economic experts dont predict India opening to tourists for quite a while yet.
According to the Economic Times, the main Indian tourism and hospitality body says that it expects international tourist numbers to be near zero for the rest of the financial year, until April 2021. Gloomy news for those thinking that January/February onwards would be fine.
Looking at an article in the Economic Times, they are saying that even when tourism resumes they are going to have to be mighty convincing to the world that it is indeed safe here and there are many negative images of India and its crisis management.
So the cases continue to rise and companies continue to cancel flights, not much fun is it but we have to smile ;-)
Some older school children will soon be back at school but most frustratingly remain at home, however when you see the rising cases you can see why.
The is the Goa Outreach map of current cases/
There is no sign of these decreasing, we are reporting 500-600 cases a day the Govt say, but they are expecting these to increase to 1000.
I'm writing this on Saturday 12th and wondering whether there may be some normality tonight when the first Premiership Football of the new season comes to the TV. Yes we can all get it at home but will any bar be bold enough to roll out their large screen to attract passing trade. That is yet to be seen.
Thanks to Gaurav Pikale for the cover photo.