As we prepare for recommence tour operations from January 2021, our first priority has to be the safety of our clients and staff, so that customers have the confidence to travel with us. Our COVID-19 Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) for excursions & tours is based on the latest government guidelines for our sector.
This is a great step forward for us all and we’re excited about welcoming customers back on board in the New Year!
As part of our COVID-19 Safe Operating Procedures, we are implementing a new supplementary Coronavirus Special Terms trading charter, which will run alongside our existing 2018 Trading Charter. Throughout this pandemic period, and in the transition as we return to normal operation, it is very important that we all follow some simple guidelines to protect our staff, our passengers and anyone else that we may come into contact with during the operation of our tours.
We are committed to proactively reducing the spread of any disease and maintain the health of our staff and passengers. As such please ensure you and your fellow passengers follow this guide to help maintain the hygiene levels that we currently have in place to reduce the spread of any disease.
The government issued new guidelines on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 that allow us to restart our tour operation, albeit with precautions and limited passenger numbers on board. We want to ensure that while COVID:19 restrictions are in place you are still able to fully enjoy your tours with us. Since our return at the begining of August 2020, we have been working hard behind the scenes to ready the tour operation.
This Coronavirus special terms trading charter applies to all tours departing after 1st September 2020 until further notice. It runs alongside to our existing trading charter, which can be found HERE.
When booking a tour with us, you will no longer be able to request specific seats (until further notice) as we will allocate seats in order of departure point. The lower saloon seats will no longer be available for passenger use due to current social distancing rules and also to protect our driver. Therefore, if you request to join the coach at our first departure point for a given tour, you will be allocated a seat(s) towards the rear of the coach. This will mean that as the coach travels to collect other clients they will be seated further forward, thus reducing contact. Your seat number may change because ideally passengers will be seated on alternate seats on each row wherever possible.
Passengers who live together in the same household, may sit together on a double seat. Where this occurs, the seat opposite, next to the aisle must not be used. The triple seat immediately behind the driver downstairs is unfortunately not available for use.
Single travellers will be allocated a window seat and must sit alone (even if they have booked to travel with another single traveller). Due to the reduced occupancy of the coach caused by social distancing measures, we will be limiting the number of single travellers and single rooms per tour.
You will be subject to a non-invasive temperature check by our Tour Manager prior to boarding. It is generally accepted that 36.1C (97F) to 37.2C (99F) is the normal range for our bodies. Passengers with a high temperature (37.7C or over) will be instructed not to travel, for the safety of our staff and other passengers. Instead they will be instructed to self isolate and get a test.
You will be asked to board just a few minutes before your departure time, in order to minimise the time that passengers spend on the coach once boarded. Please try to maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible, as you gather and when approaching and speaking with our driver or tour manager.
When you board our coaches, you must apply the hand sanitiser provided at the hand sanitiser station onboard the coach.
Whenever our Tour Manager or Driver are handling luggage, they will wear protective gloves.
As part of our safety briefing our Tour Managter will advise that upon arrival at the destination he or she will be exiting first together with the driver and that once they have left the vehicle then all passengers may safely disembark, starting from the front – please continue to observe social distancing while waiting to disembark. The emergency entrance/exit on the nearside of the coach may also be used by passengers in the rear section of the coach for boarding and disembarking where it is safe to do so.
The following procedures comply with World Health Organisation guidelines and with the latest government guidelines as updated on Tuesday 23rd June 2020. The transmission of Coronavirus is primarily through people touching surfaces contaminated by the virus and then transferring that contamination to their mouth, eyes or nose. There is also a possibility of breathing in droplets expelled by another person when in close face to face contact.
The primary concern on board coaches is that of social distancing; passengers should keep their distance please from people outside their household, and we recognise that this is not always possible. The key thing is not to be too close to people for more than a short amount of time. When around another person the biggest risk of infection is people in close ‘face to face’ positions.
We can provide assurance and mitigation of these concerns; our normal front facing seating arrangements avoids ‘face to face’ proximity and the physical barrier of the high-backed seats, plus the use of face coverings or masks will all help to ensure maximum mitigation of the dangers and maximum safety.
When you interact with our staff, they will be wearing face coverings and social distancing should be observed.
It is now a condition of travelling with us that you wear a face mask when:
● interacting with our staff
● travelling on our coaches (Face masks must be worn prior to boarding)
● Visiting museums & visitor attractions
● In all public areas of hotels
● Or as the government regulations in force at the time of travel apply
The only exception to this rule is if you are medically exempt from wearing one, but you must continue to observe all other precautions.
When you travel with us, it is now a condition of travel that you carry with you an ample supply of face masks and hand sanitiser - enough to last for the duration of the tour.
Our current enhanced cleaning procedure includes cleaning of all floors and seats, cleaning of all glass surfaces, mopping with disinfectant of all floor surfaces, disinfectant wiping of dash areas, driver controls and handles, cleaning all handrails, hand grabs, seat belt buckles, armrests and floors. It also includes vehicle anti-viral fogging.
During each stop your driver or tour manager will also re-sanitise all touch points such as handrails, hand grabs, etc.
Please note that the toilet on board the coach will not be available while these measures are on place. However, rest assured that no journey will be longer than 2 hours without a comfort stop.
We will endeavour to still provide the complimentary onboard catering service and we plan to serve these in pre-packed boxes left on your seat. With regards to onboard hot drinks, you will be supplied with or find a sanitised cup holder in the cup holder next to your seat, which is yours for the duration of the tour. Your tour manager will serve drinks wearing gloves and place them into your cup holder, which you must pass to them.
During your visit and prior to returning to the coach for the return journey, please wash your hands, observe social distancing and use the hand gel that is supplied on board.
You must also adhere to the COVID-19 Safe Operating Procedures in place at the museums/visitor attractions we visit during the tour.
When you stay with our Hotel Partners, they will have their own COVID-19 procedures in place, which you MUST observe for the duration of your stay. These will include using the hand sanitiser stations provided and wearing face masks in all public areas.
Lost Property/Mobility Aids, Etc - With regard to the exchange of such things as lost property, mobility aids etc, this will be carried out with full regard please to all social distancing and hygiene requirements.
Travel Insurance - We cannot reiterate strongly enough how important we feel it is that you take out a suitable travel insurance policy that also covers you for Coronavirus (COVID-19).