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Vikash Sharma

Kendrapara: A standard operating procedure (SOP) will be in place in view of COVID-19 at Bhitarkanika National Park which is all set to reopen for all tourists from October 19.

The SOP will be mandatory for employees as well as the visitors so as to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection.

It will be for the first time that the Bhitarkanika National Park will operate to its maximum capacity since the lockdown that came into effect from March this year. Earlier, visitors, who had booked cottages in Dangamal, were only allowed.

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As per the SOP, the authorities will display several dos and don’ts for the visitors at the entrance and other strategic locations inside the park. COVID-19 social distancing norms will be strictly followed once the Bhitarkanika National Park reopens on October 19.

Here are other key highlights of the SOP:

-Queue system with adequate space between visitors shall be maintained at all entry points and ticket booking counters.

-Maximum 500 visitors to be allowed inside Bhitarkanika National Park per day. The cap also applies for visitors coming by boat from Gupti, Khola and Chandbali entry points by road.

- No mask, no entry rule to be strictly enforced

-Visitors suffering from cold, cough, fever will be not allowed even if they hold a valid entry ticket. Body temperature of visitors will be checked at entry points.

-Senior citizens and persons with infants advised not to visit Bhitarkanika.

-No congregation of visitors will be allowed inside Bhitarkanika

-Entry into hatchery prohibited. Visitors can look into the hatchery from outside windows.

-Boat ride at Dangmal shall be conducted with 50% seating capacity of each boat.

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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