Goa should consider reopening casinos next month after assessing Covid: Minister

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Ports Minister Michael Lobo has said the Goa government should consider reopening casinos in the state next month only after assessing the Covid situation in the country.

“Casinos right now have not started. The government will consider starting casinos by next month, after looking at the (Covid) situation in the country. If the Covid situation in the country improves, only then the casinos will start and we will get tourists in the state of Goa,” Lobo said according to an IANS report.

The Government has already allowed social, political, entertainment, sports, academic, cultural gatherings, and marriages. While restaurants and cafes in Goa have been allowed to function, the casinos are yet to be opened.

Lobo said to the reports that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs should provide relaxation to the aviation tourism industry by allowing flights on safe air bubble routes to allow the facilitation of charter tourist flights from designated destinations to Goa.

“We hope that the tourism business improves, once Covid-19 comes down. We are also hoping that the international charter flights open in the state of Goa. Flights from Europe, Russia and some other European countries come here. Since there is a ban on tourists coming to India, I feel that the MHA should give relaxation for these bubble flights, especially charter flights coming from one country to the other,” Lobo told reporters.

He opined that tourists should be double vaccinated and they should produce RT-PCR negative test reports.

“They can do the antigen tests and enter the state. This is what we are expecting the Central government to do,” Lobo also said.

While domestic tourism in the coastal state is witnessing a slow revival, the same can’t be said about international tourism due to the restrictions on international air travel. It is noteworthy that nearly eight million tourists visited the state every year before the pandemic.