‘Rule of Six’ will not prevent distanced coach tours

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The Coach Tourism Association has clarified new guidance from the Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has now confirmed that the new ‘Rule of Six’ restrictions will not affect coach tour operators running tours in England. The Coach Tourism Association (CTA) has confirmed that operators will still be able to run tours based on their own business risk assessments concerning the number of passengers per coach, although when visiting an attraction or venue, passengers will need to remain in households and in groups of no more than six people.

Some coach operators are already seeing demand for excursions to recommence. John Martin’s VDL Futura JM19 HOL is seen in Torquay last month. RICHARD SHARMAN

CTA chair John Wales said: “This is an encouraging and practical step by the Government to balance people’s freedom to enjoy a holiday, whilst keeping to the rules. It is also a huge relief for the coaching industry that can now carry on with its UK tour programmes and day tours for this autumn and winter.”

The Tourism Alliance also confirmed this, saying the ‘Rule of Six’ “will have no direct impact on the number of passengers that can be carried in a vehicle and operators should continue to follow the Safer Transport Guidance for Operators issued by DfT in accordance with their own risk assessments.”

It confirmed that businesses which are operating in accordance with the government’s Covid-Safe guidelines can continue to operate at their current safe capacity, provided that individual parties abide by the ‘Rule of Six’: “Accommodation businesses, attractions, performance venues, coach operators, tour guides, pubs and restaurants can all continue as they are provided that they made sure any individual party of visitors complies with the Rule of Six.”

The Tourism Alliance confirmed that coaches, and other modes of transport, can still operate to their Covid-secure capacity provided that each individual party using the mode of transport complies with the ‘Rule of Six’ and social distancing remains between each party. Once off the mode of transport, each individual party must stay socially distanced and enter any attraction/accommodation as an individual party complying with the ‘Rule of Six’.

A tour guide can still take up to 30 people from the coach, or other method of transport, on a walking tour around a destination – but again the people must stay in their individual groups that comply with the ‘Rule of Six’ with social distancing between them, along with any rules in place at the destination.