Sadly, we’ve had several cancelled bookings in the last few weeks, mostly from people who are worried about the current Coronavirus epidemic.
Of course, as a small, family-run tourism business, we hope you don’t decide to cancel your trip to the UK as we’d love for you to come on one of our Cotswolds tours! The UK, and the Cotswolds, is still very much open for business, and we are excited to welcome you to our little corner of the country!
But, ultimately, each person must make that decision for themselves. Hopefully, this blog post will answer some questions you may have and provide reassurance. If you have any further questions, please just ask and we will do our best to help!
What is the risk of becoming infected with Coronavirus in the UK?
Many people are worried about catching coronavirus abroad. According to the UK Chief Medical Officers, there is presently a “moderate” risk of coronavirus in the UK; however, in a population of over 66 million people, there are, at the time of writing, just 85 reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19. To date, there have been no Coronavirus-related deaths in our country.
The latest advice from the World Health Organization (WHO, 29th February) states that: “It is prudent for [international] travellers who are sick to delay or avoid travel to affected areas, in particular for elderly travellers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions”.
WHO defines “affected areas” as “those countries, provinces, territories or cities experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19, in contrast to areas reporting only imported cases.” By this definition, the UK is not considered to be an “affected area”.
So, as far as WHO is concerned, there is currently no need for anyone to cancel a trip to the UK for fear of catching Coronavirus.
As our friend and travel guru Rick Steves said in a recent Facebook post, “Before making any decisions [about whether or not cancel your travel plans], it’s important to take a breath and keep things in perspective. So far this winter, the run-of-the-mill flu has killed about 16,000 Americans… and yet, more than half of us don’t even bother to get a flu shot…”
We recommend you stay up-to-date with the latest advice from WHO, and your country’s Foreign Office. Of course, if you are a senior, or you do have a chronic or underlying health condition, you should also check with your travel insurance provider.
Will my trip be cancelled because of travel restrictions?
Another fear is that of getting stranded abroad, or of travel plans being cancelled.
Currently, there are no travel advisories, restrictions or bans on entering or leaving the UK. There are also currently no restrictions on movement within the UK – no city lockdowns, no mandatory quarantines, and no bans on large gatherings of people.
We can’t say for sure that the present situation won’t change. But, right now, there is no need to panic. Rick Steves said, “I’m booked on a flight to Istanbul on April 12. At this point, I haven’t even thought about cancelling. I’m thinking positive and hoping to make my trip. If things change between now and then, I’ll do the responsible thing. But for now, Easter Sunday is, for me, wheels-up.”
So what do we do now?
For us, the famous British motto “Keep Calm and Carry On” seems particularly appropriate right now!
We have no plans to cancel any Go Cotswolds tours, so if you have already booked or are planning to book a tour with us, your booking will be guaranteed. We really look forward to meeting you!
In the meantime, we should all follow official public health advice to minimise our risk of catching, or spreading ANY infectious disease. Here in the UK, the National Health Service is campaigning for regular and thorough hand-washing or sanitising, so we will be paying extra attention to our own personal hygiene, and providing hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes on our vehicles. Face masks are not necessary!
Our cancellation policy
If you do wish to cancel your tour, for any reason, then so long as you let us know at least 48 hours before your tour departs, we will issue you with a full refund, less a £3 per person admin fee (as stated in our terms and conditions).
We can also transfer your booking to another date, subject to availability, for no fee.