You may have heard the news yesterday (Wednesday 9th September) that a new law is being passed in England, with effect from Monday 14th September 2020, which will make it illegal for people to gather in groups of more than 6.
If you’ve booked, or are thinking of booking a tour with us in the coming days, weeks or months – don’t panic! Our tours are still going ahead with our well-established and rigorous COVID-19 protocols in place. Read on to find out how and why…
In England, from Monday, we are introducing the rule of 6. You must not meet socially in groups of more than 6 – and if you do, you will be breaking the law.
We must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. pic.twitter.com/tKWa9sK1wr
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 9, 2020
Before now, the UK Government had ‘advised’ us not to meet in groups of more than 6 people at a time, but the police had no power to act if this advice was ignored, except where gatherings exceeded 30 people.
From Monday, if you are caught meeting – in public or private – with more than 5 other people who are not from your own household or ‘social bubble’, you can now be fined or even arrested.
So how come you can take more than 6 people on a Go Cotswolds tour?
We have a 17-seater minibus with a public service vehicle (PSV) operator’s license issued under the direction of the Office of the Traffic Commissioner – this means that, like buses & coaches, the ‘rule of 6’ doesn’t apply to us provided our customers wear face masks and socially distance as best they can. Something our “Go Well” COVID-secure procedures ensure (see below).
As an aside…
… (and a totally geeky transport point) a minibus is classified as a vehicle with 9 or more seats – often 6, 7 & 8 seater vehicles get referred to as ‘minibuses’, but in the eyes of the law these are just big cars and operate under a totally different licencing system!
Is Go Cotswolds “COVID-secure”?
Yes – as much as any business can be! As responsible business owners, and holders of VisitBritain’s “Good to Go” industry standard, we have put rigorous measures in place to help ensure the safety of our customers, staff and the wider Cotswolds communities. These include:
- A quick pre-tour health questionnaire
- Social distancing
- Wearing of face coverings
- Regular use of hand sanitiser
- Frequent, thorough cleaning of our minibus
You can read more about our COVID-19 protocols here.
Even though the ‘rule of 6’ doesn’t apply to passengers in our vehicles, ever since we resumed our tours post-lockdown, we have limited the maximum number of passengers per tour to 10 (usually 16). The layout of the seats inside our vehicle means that with no more than 10 passengers, everyone can be safely socially distanced inside the minibus. It also provides additional peace of mind for our staff and customers. Additionally, we now have a shiny new perspex COVID screen in place to protect your driver-guide.
Carry on Cotswolds!
The only part of this new law that affects our tour is that once our passengers step off the minibus, they will need to disperse so that they are not gathering in groups of more than 6.
However, this is something we’ve been practicing ever since we resumed our tours anyway – even before the change in law was announced. Since most of our customers are singles, couples or small family groups, it hasn’t been a problem for everyone to keep their distance.
I hope you find this information reassuring! As ever, if the advice changes or new laws come into effect that affect how we run our tours, we’ll be the first to let you know!