Updated guidance on the visitor economy has comprehensively addressed how the ‘rule of six’ in England applies to coach tours. It confirms that if groups of more than six people (or larger if all members are from one household) do not mingle, tours should continue to operate.
In a newly added specific section, the guidance notes that coach tour participants must always stay in their own groups. That includes while they are in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions, as well as when they are on board the coach.
The document notes that legislation does not place any capacity constraints on “leisure tours”, just as it does not on public transport or private hire vehicles. Instead, operators should “continue to provide COVID-secure transport services” that can accommodate multiple groups of six people.
Guided tours at attractions are also covered. The guidance states that if it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six people – or more, if all members are from one household – do not mingle, a guided tour can go ahead. They may take place indoors or outdoors, provided that businesses undertake risk assessments in line with the guidance document and put any necessary mitigatory measures in place.
The document also specifically states that it is acceptable for businesses and venues following COVID-secure guidelines to host groups of more than 30, if it is done so in accordance with the relevant guidance in their sector. Operators have frequently reported that many venues are refusing to accept bookings for parties of more than 30.
Attractions are further advised that they should consider the “cumulative impact” of many venues reopening in a small area. That means they should work with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess that risk and apply additional mitigations.
The update to the visitor economy guidance relating to coach tours has come after pressure from the Confederation of Passenger Transport for the sector’s specific inclusion within the document.