I’ve just finished a 14 day tour and thought I would focus my tour report on the”Covid” aspects of the tour.
Testing: All participants had negative tests to start the tour. No one developed any symptoms. Several of us that were going on other tours tested at the end and were negative. I can’t say any more about the others since they did not test. I can say everyone who started the tour ended the tour and we had a great time!
Masking: It was clear that there was the usual range of “buy in” about masking among participants. Everyone, however complied with the mandate to wear a mask on the bus without complaints and only minimal reminders. The guide made an excellent presentation at the opening meeting about our shared responsibility to keep the group healthy. I was surprised that some tour members had missed seeing the specific types of masks required or had only brought 1 or 2 masks for two weeks. This all quickly sorted itself out. I personally appreciated my fellow tour members for following the protocol so well.
Very few locals or other tourists are masked out in the community settings. Some of us chose wear masks indoors or in crowded public settings but that was left to individual choice.
Hand washing: Bottles of hand sanitizer were located by each door to the bus. Most participants would use this each time they boarded the bus.
Meals: This remains a key “close contact” time and the amount ventilation and space varied greatly. Sometimes we were in well ventilated places and sometimes we were not. I know that this is an area that RS tours is trying to improve, but change with the restaurant vendors appears to be a bit of a challenge.
Overall experience: I had to bring a few more things (masks, tests, cold medicine-just in case). We had to remember to mask up on bus and were a little more cognizant of health practices. There were few times when I felt uncomfortable with the physical setting and layout of a meal. Beyond that, it was a “normal” tour. We had a great guide, a congenial group, and an interesting and varied itinerary.
I start on another tour in 2 days. I’m hopeful it will be just as positive experience as this one was.
UPDATE: 2nd tour update. Once again the group was compliant with protocols. Fewer people wore masks in crowded indoor settings, but all wore masks on bus or public transport. Group Meals were often in crowded or unventilated settings. These meals lasted over 2 hours each so that was a lot of potential exposure. The fact that at least at one point in time at the beginning of the tour we had all tested negative was comforting. I don’t know if anyone will go home and test positive, but I do know that everyone who started the tour, ended the tour and were without symptoms.