Yesterday (Monday 12th October), the UK Government announced some further changes to official COVID-19 Coronavirus advice, namely a new three-tier local alert system (see below).

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 able to go ahead with our well-established and rigorous COVID-19 protocols in place. Read on to find out how and why…

What’s changed?

The new three-tier system places each area of England into a risk category: medium, high or very high.

Medium risk areas

Most of England, including Stratford-upon-Avon (where we are based) and the Cotswolds (where we operate our tours) is considered to be at ‘medium’ risk for COVID-19, which means the infection rate is less than 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Medium risk areas have some restrictions in place, but these are the same national restrictions that were announced back in September. In other words, nothing has changed for most of the country. Wear a face mask. Wash/sanitise your hands. Keep calm and carry on – and come and explore the Cotswolds with us!

Further information about medium risk areas can be found on the UK Government website here.

High risk areas

A few places in England, including Manchester, Birmingham and parts of Cheshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, are considered to be at ‘high’ risk (i.e. they have an infection rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 people). As such, these areas are subject to extra restrictions, or ‘local lockdowns’.

In ‘high’ risk areas, people are not currently allowed to meet anyone indoors who is not from their own household or support bubble. Additionally, people in high risk areas are being advised to reduce the number of journeys they make to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Further information about high risk areas can be found on the UK Government website here.

Very high risk areas

So far, just one area of England is currently considered to be at ‘very high’ risk, and that is the Liverpool City region.

People in very high risk areas are subject to stricter lockdown measures, including not being able to meet anyone who is not from their own household or support, whether indoors or outdoors. Pubs and bars must close completely, unless they serve meals, and alcohol must only be served with a meal. People living in very high risk areas are advised not to travel or stay outside of that area, and people from outside the very high risk area are advised not to travel to it or stay overnight.

Further information about very high risk areas can be found on the UK Government website here.

To find out the risk level of your area, use the Government’s postcode checker here. There is also a postcode checker and a nice visual map on the BBC website here.

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!

I hope you find this information reassuring! If either Stratford-upon-Avon or the Cotswolds should enter the ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk categories, then we will, sadly, need to temporarily close. But let’s cross that bridge if and when we come to it! For now, Go Cotswolds is good to go and looking forward to meeting you on a tour very soon!