The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has now set out his “Roadmap to Recovery” for the UK, in response to the current situation with COVID-19. So, what does that mean for a local, family-owned Tour Operator specialising in Day Tours of Yorkshire from York, Leeds and Harrogate that is currently still in lockdown and well and truly furloughed?
Step One of his cautious plan is just to open the schools on the 8th March which, whilst very welcome, doesn’t change things for us at all. If all goes well with the schools opening, Step Two will occur five weeks later on the 12th April, when shops, outdoor attractions and some indoor leisure facilities will be permitted to open, together with limited outdoor socialising and overnight leisure stays in self-contained accommodation. Step Three is scheduled for another five weeks later on the 17th May, again based upon the success of Step Two, when hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and pubs can fully reopen. The final Step Four is currently planned for another five weeks later on the 21st June, when pretty much everything can return to some sort of normality. I suppose we should be thankful that, at least, we now have visibility on a plan that we can work to!
Last year, we geared ourselves up to operate our Tours on a “COVID-secure” basis in accordance with the “We’re Good to Go” industry standard. Sadly, we didn’t get many opportunities to practice our procedures last year but we are satisfied that they will keep everyone safe and we are now ready to operate as soon as the rules permit. We have two different types of tour to consider, Private Group Tours and Public Day Trips from York, so, having now studied the new rules/guidance, we have come up with our own “Roadmap to Recovery”.
We will restart on the 12th April, initially just offering our SMALL Private Group Tours for families/social bubbles who want to get out and enjoy the countryside from York, Leeds or Harrogate. Our precautions will initially include everyone wearing a face covering, whilst inside the vehicle.
We have then decided to let things settle down a bit, following things opening up at Step Three, and have scheduled our regular, public Day Trips from York to operate from the 1st June. We will initially be limiting numbers to maximum 10 guests per tour through June, to ensure social distancing, so we suggest people book early if they want to join us – online booking on our website is now open.
The last year has not been a complete waste of our time – we now have a lot more Private Tour options, small/medium/large groups and full/half days, as well as a completely new “All Creatures Great & Small” tour!
We are really looking forward to getting cracking again and, hopefully, it will just be onwards and upwards this time!