Despite the COVID-19 situation, a large number of visitors thronged the tourist places in the city and Agency areas on Sunday. A majority of the tourists were local people and there were some tourists from surrounding districts and Odisha.
For the first time since the pandemic struck, Borra Caves attracted around 5,000 visitors, the biggest single-day rush. All the rooms in Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) guest houses in the Agency areas had 100 % occupancy.
The Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) was packed with families. Officials said that 4,400 people visited the zoo on Sunday. The family groups played various games and had lunch together. Youth took selfies and uploaded them on social media. Children had a good time watching animals in their enclosures. Similarly, Kailasagiri and Thotlakonda also witnessed huge turnout this Sunday. There were long queues for the ropeway, toy train, game points and view points. The beaches at Bheemili, Rushikonda, Yarada and S Rayavaram drew hundreds of visitors throughout the day.
We were in a quandary on going for a picnic. But since the cases are coming down, we came for an outing this weekend. We are all wearing masks, carrying sanitisers, water bottles and maintaining safe distance from others, said M. Satyanarayana, who came for a picnic along with his family at Kailasagiri.
Borra Caves, Chaparai, Ananthagiri coffee plantations, waterfalls including Katika, Kothapalle and other places were also full of visitors. Lambasingi, which is renowned for recording low temperatures during winter, witnessed a steady stream of visitors since the early hours of Sunday. Vanajangi view point in Paderu mandal also had good visitors, after pictures of the view point went viral on social media.
According to APTDC Divisional Manager T.G. Prasada Reddy, for the first time, after COVID-19, Borra Caves had received 5,000 visitors on a single day. All the rooms in APTDC hotels in Agency area reported 100 % occupancy, he said.
No safety protocol
A number of people were seen flouting basic safety norms at the picnic spots. Many were moving without face masks and ignoring physical distancing norms at the tourist spots.
Some people are spitting, said V. Sudheer Babu, a resident of MVP Colony who went for a picnic at Rushikonda Beach.
A few visitors said that the officials should impose fines on those violating COVID-19 norms.