We continued for as long as we could in the escalating coronavirus situation, but – I’m so very sorry to say – the time for Go Cotswolds to close has now come…
… for now!
In an official announcement made on Friday evening (20th March), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered increased ‘social distancing’ measures, including the mandatory closure of social spaces such as pubs, restaurants, clubs, theatres and cafes.
While there was no specific ban on operating guided tours such as ours, given these tougher restrictions on social contact, we now feel it would be irresponsible of us to continue our operations until these restrictions are lifted.
Before now, we were keen to continue operating our tours so as to support the local economy and independent businesses here in the Cotswolds, but since many of those businesses are now forced to close, we believe it is appropriate for us to close also.
Therefore, we have taken the decision to cancel all remaining Go Cotswolds tour bookings for the rest of March and April, and for tours beyond this, we will periodically review the situation as it develops. The Fleece Inn is closed until further notice, and Purity Brewing Co. has decided to close the brewery until the end of May, so sadly our Brewery & Pub Tours won’t be operating until at least the end of May.
Tom and I would like to thank the friends, family members, and customers past, present and future who have sent us so many kind messages over the past few days and weeks. We truly appreciate your support! Thank you also to those of you who have bought our gift vouchers, exchanged your booking for a gift voucher, and to the optimistic few who have rescheduled their trips already!
I’d like to reassure you that, although we have had a rough week, myself, Tom, and our little daughter Zoe are OK. After some initial tears and anger about the situation, we have now reached a place of acceptance: we must continue to keep calm and carry on and, although we won’t have any tours for a little while, Go Cotswolds isn’t going anywhere – we promise!
The UK Government has announced some extraordinary financial support measures for people and businesses affected by the repercussions of coronavirus, such as grants so that employers can continue to pay staff at 80% of their average wage, interest-free loans to aid cash flow, mortgage and loan repayment ‘holidays’ and increased access to state benefits. Some of these mechanisms will help to keep us and, we hope, our friends in the tour industry afloat, until we are able to resume our operations.
With the closure of schools and childcare facilities effective from Friday 20th March, our newfound childcare challenge will mean lots of tag-teaming to look after our daughter, and working odd hours, but we intend to be incredibly productive during this period of downtime we now find ourselves in! For example, our fantastic web team at 5874 Design are already working hard on a website redesign for us, and we will be busy planning our marketing strategies for the summer and beyond.
Don’t you worry, Go Cotswolds’ tours will be back!
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to help us:
- Please follow and interact with us on our social media pages – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – where we’ll be sharing photos, and posting news and updates. Please share our content to spread the word about our business!
- If you have been on a tour with us, and you haven’t got round to leaving us a review, it would be amazing if you could do this! You can leave us a review on Google, Facebook or Tripadvisor
- If you think you might like to take a tour with us some time within the next 2 years, please consider purchasing a gift voucher
- If you would like to cancel a tour you have booked with us, but think that you might like to re-book within the next 2 years, please consider asking us to transfer your booking date, or transferring your booking to a gift voucher. The vast amount of money we are having to refund at the moment, combined with no new bookings coming in, means that our cash reserves are very low – we want to avoid borrowing money if we can possibly help it!