Coronavirus Update: New ‘Rule of 6’

You may have heard the news (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.

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 meet – 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 we can take more than 6 people on our Tours of Yorkshire?

We operate 17-seat Mini-Coaches 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 coverings whilst inside the vehicle and socially distance – something our COVID-secure procedures already ensure.

As an aside…

… (and a totally geeky transport point) a Mini-Coach (or 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!

Are BOBH – Day Tours of Yorkshire “COVID-secure”?

Yes – as much as any business can be! As responsible business owners, and holders of Visit Britain’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 Yorkshire communities. These include:

  • Social distancing
  • Wearing of face coverings whilst inside the vehicle
  • Regular use of hand sanitiser
  • Frequent, thorough cleaning of our vehicles

You can read more about our COVID-19 protocols on the FAQs website page.

Even though the ‘Rule of 6’ doesn’t apply to passengers in our vehicles, 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 and have the added benefit of a window seat!

We 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!

That is the question we have been asking ourselves since entering lockdown after our Day Trip to the Yorkshire Dales from York on the 18th March! We were extremely busy for the first couple of months of lockdown (only processing cancellations and refunds though!) but we are now able to look forwards.

For the last seven years, our primary business has been “public” day trips around Yorkshire from York for up to 16 passengers, supplemented by a few Private Tours from York, Leeds and Harrogate, using the same 16-seat Minicoaches. Our customer split has been around 60/40 (International/Domestic) and the overwhelming majority have been overnight visitors to those three locations, with very few locals. We, therefore, clearly needed to have a rethink!

Keen as they probably are to get out into the countryside and explore Yorkshire after lockdown, we think people are likely to have an initial resistance to joining “Public” tours, so we have decided to change our main focus to “Private” tours. We have also introduced private tours for smaller groups of up to 4 and up to 8 passengers, which makes them much safer for both our driver/guides and passengers, in terms of potential virus transmission, and makes them more affordable for small family groups. We have also made all the options available to book online on our website and our private tours of Yorkshire from York now start from only £250.

It currently looks like accommodation and attractions in Yorkshire will be opening up in July, but we have decided to initially just offer private tours in August then aim to re-start our public tours from the 1st September, all with appropriate additional coronavirus precautions in place, of course!

So, that is our plan to start rebuilding our business and returning to having #morefuninyorkshire!

Yorkshire Dales

28th June 2020