PANJIM: Two days after the Herald expose of hotels and guest houses accepting online bookings, Department of Tourism swung into action and issued an order directing hotels and guest houses not to accept bookings through online websites.
The order issued by Tourism Director Menino D’Souza states that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, under the directions of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), vide Order no. 40 3/2020-DM-I(A) had issued directions to State governments and authorities for strict implementation of the lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 up to May 31, 2020.
“As per Para 2(iv) of the guidelines all hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services shall remain prohibited throughout the country except those meant for housing health/police government officials/healthcare workers/ stranded persons including tourists and for quarantine facilities,” it states.
It adds, “It has been noticed that some of the hotels/accommodation facilities have been accepting bookings through various website mobile applications like Make My Trip, OYO, Airbnb etc during the period when the above said order is in force.”
It says that this act, on the part of hotels and accommodation facilities amounts to violation of the lockdown measures issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
“Hence, all hotels, accommodation facilities are hereby directed to forthwith stop accepting any bookings on any website/mobile application till the above said activities are prohibited, failing which they will be liable for penal action as per provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 besides legal action under Section 188 of the IPC and other legal provisions as applicable,” the order states.