The Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has given The Tourism Alliance further clarity regarding coach operations. In a summary the DCMS said: “If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six people on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour – for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach.”
To reinforce this, the DfT has now updated its document Coronavirus (COVID-19): Safer Transport Guidance for Operators. This amends the guidance in accordance with the latest changes and includes the following statement which gives explicit backing for the continuation of coach tours and excursions in England in accordance with the required risk assessment and social distancing measures. It is also a requirement that the ‘rule of 6’ is followed on arrival at all venues during a tour: “These rules do not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide transport services which can accommodate separate multiple groups of six people.”
Different rules may apply in areas currently under local lockdowns as well as in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. One new development which will have an impact on groups is the introduction of a requirement for hospitality venues to display a QR code linked to the NHS Track and Trace app. All venues must display a QR code which will enable visitors to ‘check in’ with their details via the app. Operators should continue to ensure that they have full customers lists available to share with any venues they visit during the course of a tour.