Just got this via email from RS per my upcoming tour in May. Very reasonable new policy that recognizes the new normal of Covid as a mild, endemic condition.
Bearing in mind that Covid-19 isn't going away but the risk of severe illness has been significantly reduced through vaccines and other treatments, we're establishing a "new normal" for our 2023 tour Covid requirements. Our goal is to ensure the health and safety of your group — and provide a successful tour for you and each group member — while acknowledging the world has greatly relaxed pandemic restrictions.
Here's a summary of our 2023 policies:
Covid Vaccines: Yes!
We have one standard Covid-related requirement across all 2023 tours: You and each member of your traveling party will need to be "fully vaccinated" according to the CDC, meaning you have received a single dose (Johnson & Johnson) or two-dose series (Moderna/Pfizer-BioNTech) of an accepted vaccine at least 14 days prior to your tour start date. (Booster shots are recommended for those that are eligible but not required). You'll also need to present your CDC (or equivalent) vaccination card to your guide at the welcome meeting on the first day of your tour.
Face Masks: Optional
Although we know that face masks help prevent the spread of illness, wearing a mask while on tour is optional. However, please know that at any time the situation with Covid may change and your guide may instruct you to wear a mask while on the bus or in other public settings. Please be prepared by packing along your own medical grade masks (N95, KN95, KF94).
Pre-tour Testing: No
We do not require pre-tour testing. But if you exhibit Covid symptoms while on tour, you'll be required to take a test and present the results to your guide. It's simple to order free test kits from USPS.com or purchase at your local drug store, so please bring a few along with you.
What happens if you test positive?
If you test positive while on tour, you're obligated to follow local protocol for quarantining and cannot rejoin the tour. Rick Steves' Europe and Travel Guard Assistance will provide you support with managing your quarantine requirements, but you're responsible for the associated costs. Many travel insurance policies cover the additional expenses for accommodations, travel change fees, food, etc. RSE will provide a $200-per-day refund for you (and your travel partner if you choose to quarantine together) for the number of days missed due to Covid. For details, see our Tour Conditions.
We'll be reviewing these requirements on a regular basis and if we need to make changes, we'll do our best to notify you prior to your tour start date. There's a chance we may need to make changes during your tour as well. Most of all, while on tour you'll need to be flexible and remember — as with the rest of life — travel is subject to change.
We're excited to be traveling with you soon!