Kazakhstan to Limit Access to Tourist Zones Near Nur-Sultan Through End of July

NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan will limit access to tourist zones in the Akmola Region from July 24 to Aug. 3, announced Burabai district Deputy Akim (Governor) Ualikhan Gabdullin.

Burabai national park. Photo credit: inform.kz.

The decision was made after public negligence of the quarantine regime was observed by the government, he explained. Earlier, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the World Health Organization (WHO) country office stressed its disappointment with the behavior of the population and the disregard for social distancing regulations imposed by the Kazakh government.

“The general flaunting of the quarantine continues in places reserved for outdoor recreation. There was [public] outrage at the practically irreversible damage done by negligent citizens to the unique pink Kobeituz Lake,” Tokayev said in a recent tweet.

This also includes the oasis of the vast northern steppes as Burabai and Zerenda, both three-hour away trips from the Kazakh capital. These are popular tourist destinations during national holidays and days off. The holiday makers overcrowded the tourist zones and violate social distancing and the quarantine regime by doing so.

“Restrictive measures will now be put into place. To fight the coronavirus, residents of the region and nearby regions need to approach the situation with understanding and refrain from traveling to these recreation areas or visiting crowded places,” Gabdullin said in an instagram post.

The district akimat will set up block posts along the perimeter. Tourists who arrive before July 24 can stay in hotels and sanatorium-resort facilities, but must ensure social distancing and wear masks. The vacationers, however, will not be able to rent beaches, saunas, or hotel pools. 

The akimat prohibited hotels from accepting booking requests. State health resort facilities will continue to operate in compliance with the enhanced sanitary and disinfection measures.

The governmental authorities also suspended the operations of entertainment and retail outlets located on the coastline of reservoirs and boat stations.

Prior to this, the Yereimentau district Akimat also closed the roads to Kobeituz Lake, the instagram famous pink lake, and as well as Teniz, Kurbet, and Korzhynkol lakes on July 20 until the epidemiological situation in the Yereimentau district stabilized.

The monitoring group led by Yereimentau district Akim (governor) Abai Alzhanov were able to catch a massive gathering of people in Teniz and Kobeituz lakes during the July 18-19 weekend raids on tourists. 

In addition to this, the Kazakh Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources plans to give Kobeituz the status of a specially protected area.

“Mobile posts and a barrier cannot solve the problem. If there is a barrier, there will always be someone willing to move it. Therefore, it is necessary to solve the problem through environmental education of citizens and an increase in fines,” Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev said, as quoted by zakon.kz.

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