Phurpa Lhamo | Gasa

Gasa tshachu, which closed on March 22 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, reopened to the public on July 3.

Apart from hand-washing stations, to ensure physical distancing the tshachu will take in limited visitors.

On the first day since it reopened, around 26 people visited. As of July 6, there were 16 people at the tshachu.

According to Gasa Tsachu Manager Tandin Dorji, a maximum of only 46 people would be accommodated at a time at the tshachu.

The tshachu receives a minimum of 200 to a maximum of 600 people in a week during peak season—December, January and February.

This decreases to around 40 persons in a week during lean seasons.

“It is off-season now. So even without the restriction, there are not many visitors during these months,” Tandin Dorji said.

The tshachu management, to ensure physical distancing will accommodate six to eight people in a single pond. There are seven ponds at the tshachu.

During the peak season in winter, a single pond accommodates around 40 people at a time.

“We will not accept people if there are already more than 46 people.” In case there are more than 46 visitors, the management would begin a time table to rotate people visiting the ponds.

The management is recording the details of visitors—occupation and travel history—and is constantly checking for fever.

“We check their temperature when they check-in, and when they leave. And for those staying longer, body temperature is checked after three days,” Tandin Dorji said.

Mondays and Fridays are designated for cleaning of the ponds.

Tandin Dorji said that additional handwashing stations were built near the guesthouse. “We have enough handwashing facilities near the pond.”

Police personnel and the management staff patrol the area to strictly ensure the safety measures are followed.

The measures in place would hinder the tshachu’s income. In the last 2019-2020 fiscal year, the tshachu made an income of Nu 2.2 million (M).