I’m really hoping this might be the last time we have to make one of these announcements! But, as the UK Government’s plans for the gradual easing of the current Coronavirus ‘lockdown’ situation continue to unravel, we regret to announce that we have decided to cancel all Go Cotswolds tours until the end of June 2020.
What’s the current situation in the UK?
Here in the UK we have been under a Government-mandated ‘Coronavirus lockdown’ since the 20th March. Although some of the initial restrictions on freedom of movement have now been eased slightly, strict social distancing measures are still in place.
Non-keyworkers can now return to work, if they cannot work from home and if a 2-metre distance can be kept between all staff and customers. This means that now, shops selling non-essential items are starting to open again, and pubs, restaurants and cafés can open for take-out or delivery only.
We can now drive, if we wish, to exercise in places other than the immediate vicinity of our homes, but many managed open spaces, including gardens, beaches and some parks, remain closed, as do visitor attractions, theatres, cinemas, hotels and so on.
The UK Government has also announced that international visitors coming to the UK will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, which we imagine will put many people off coming!
What does this mean for Go Cotswolds?
Since our tours are conducted in a 17-seater minibus, it is not currently practical for us to operate within the limits of these social distancing measures and, given travel restrictions and the mandatory quarantine period for international visitors, sadly we have no customers for now anyway!
A big part of our tours is all about supporting the local community and local businesses and, for now, our Brewery & Pub Tour partners are closed to visitors, as are the lovely tearooms, cafés, coffee houses and independent shops we love to champion.
We feel it would be irresponsible of us to bring visitors from outside of the Cotswolds into these vulnerable communities at this time. The consensus among local people is that they would feel safer and better protected from COVID-19 if tourists would keep their distance until the situation is improved, and we intend to respect that.
Cotswolds Tourism, a destination management organisation of which Go Cotswolds is a member, said:
While the Cotswolds normally warmly welcomes visitors, unfortunately these are far from normal times. Sadly we must ask would-be visitors to stay away from the Cotswolds for the foreseeable future and instead ask you to play your part in limiting and slowing the spread of the virus.
The Cotswolds will be still be here, waiting to welcome you. Stay safe and stay at home.
When will you open again?
Based on our Government’s outlined ‘Restart’ plan, we – like many other tourism businesses – are currently aiming to resume operations in July 2020, although whether those operations will be ‘business as usual’, or some kind of ‘new normal’ remains to be seen. We are waiting for some clarity from the Government and official tourism bodies about the measures that we may need to put in place to ensure the safety of our customers, our team members and our community.
Tickets for our tours are available to book on our website from July 2020 through to the end of 2021. It is possible that we may be forced to cancel more tour dates, so please stay tuned for further updates! If in doubt, please ask us before you make a booking.
I’m going to need to cancel – what do I do?
We have been in touch with all customers affected by our enforced closure up until 30th June and are handling these bookings as a priority.
If you have booked a tour with us after 30th June, we absolutely understand that you may wish to postpone or cancel your tour – perhaps because of a lockdown situation in your own country, a cancelled flight/vacation, health issues, or simply the uncertainty in the world right now.
We’d like to offer you the option to transfer your booking to a new date or, if you aren’t able to make new plans at this time, we can transfer your booking to a gift voucher. Our vouchers are valid for 2 years, and contain a coupon code that you can use on our website to rebook your tour at your convenience.
Of course, we’re also happy to provide you with a refund, less a nominal cancellation fee of £3 per person. This fee is simply to cover our administrative costs (e.g., the fee that we are charged by our online payment handling provider) and ensures that we, as a small family business, are able to “break even” at this difficult time.
What can I do to help?
Some things you can do to help us at this time:
- 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 tag your friends, share our content and spread the word about our lovely little 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. These are available for both our Cotswolds Day Tours and Brewery & Pub Tours and are valid for bookings made within 2 years.