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Dining on tour during a covid surge

Based on the tour reports and anecdotes from the forums, it sounds like cases on the tours are increasing along with the current covid surge. Not unexpected. I know on the coaches that masking is mandatory, but I wondering about dining with the group?

On previous tours it's been nice to mingle with the tourmates over the group dinners - is it still very much a communal experience? Or are travel mates paired off and separated around the restaurants? I always liked the dinners but I am definitely willing to be more distanced if it helps mitigate the risk of catching covid from a tourmate and getting kicked off the tour :)

Thanks!

Posted by
1558 posts

I’d like to know too. We haven’t eaten in a restaurant in two years. My concern is also the behaviors of members when on their own time. I’m sure many ditch the masks once away from the group.

Posted by
21080 posts

I'm not sure it would matter much if the tour participants are scattered around the restaurant but all the tables separating them are full of other diners. It's a bunch of people sitting in an enclosed spaces with masks off, talking part of the time. (Talking loudly if it's a noisy environment.)

Posted by
13558 posts

Not sure what tour you are taking and what locations you are going to. With that maybe people here could give you some idea if any of them currently have dining restrictions that might make you feel better; but cant guess for the future. But honestly I would count on a typical pre-COVID restaurant situations.

Posted by
9725 posts

I’m not on a Rick tour but I am in Paris. I’ll tell you that restaurants are jammed and back to prepandemic seating. Even if tour members are scattered through a restaurant you’ll likely be cheek to cheek with locals.

I mask until my food comes then remask when I’m finished which is what I’d do on a tour as well.

Posted by
2134 posts

I’m on a tour - Road Scholar, not Rick Steves - dining is as usual. We are seated at two tables, arrive in masks, sit down and take them off, eating and talking at a typical close distance from each other. Our group is tiny - 11 people.

Posted by
1842 posts

I don't understand the science regarding masking on the bus, but then (of course) no mask while eating and talking. The same spittle and so forth is flying into the air especially while eating. If you see someone eating and talking while the light is just right, you'll see a lot of stuff coming out. If there is room to separate everyone that might work, but is it practicable?

Valerie, congrats on being a Rhoads Scholar. I've never known one even online! Then again I haven't exactly spent much time at a college haha! Also come to think of it there is a nice song called "Valerie" by Steve Winwood. Check it out, ma'am.

Posted by
325 posts

With a group of 29, I would prefer to sit in smaller groups, always, but especially during these times.

Posted by
284 posts

I was on a RS tour in Sicily in March. We were a rather small group of 12 plus the guide. During our group meals, we sat the same way we did during pre-Covid tours - together at one (or sometimes two) tables. Italy required masks indoors (anywhere). Once you reached the table, you could take the mask off for the meal.. We had a terrific time - eating, drinking, socializing. I would have it no other way.

People in the group broke off in smaller groups for our independent meals. I ate with groups ranging from 2-8 people during those meals. No masks during these meals either.

We had all been required to present vaccination records as well as a negative test taken within 48 hours of the beginning of the tour. Essentially we became a “pod” together and, I think, we all felt quite comfortable. It was wonderful to experience a level of “normal.” As far as I know, nobody tested positive before their flight home.

I would expect that larger groups of 20+ people would often be broken up into smaller tables, simply because most restaurants would not be able to seat such a large group together. This was true on RS tours before Covid.

If dining in a group or inside a restaurant makes you feel worried or uncomfortable, it might not be time yet for you to join an organized tour. Independent travel might be best in that case.

Posted by
46 posts

I just returned from Best of Turkey March 28 to April 9, with a total of 16 plus our tour guide and driver. For our several group lunch & dinner meals, we ate at restaurants together usually at two or three tables beside each other, taking our masks off once at the table and ready to eat. For breakfasts we would share tables usually 3-4 at one table, sometimes spread around the room and sometimes the tables were next / nearby to one another. At all meals there were other guests around us just like before covid, no biggie. So no, there was no requirement or even suggestion to find tables further away from the others. At the end of our tour, all of us tested negative before returning home or continuing on other tours.

Posted by
5194 posts

@ Eileen, thanks for the feedback and information about your tour. I think the bottom line is that if a person is not comfortable sitting in a restaurant with others either that person will need to make an alternate arrangement for that meal or reconsider if he/she is really ready to travel during these times. There is no "right" "wrong" here. Each person needs to identify his or her own comfort level for travel at this time.

Posted by
1693 posts

I read that the tour meals will be outdoors whenever possible. For those of you who have taken tours already, is that happening much?

Posted by
284 posts

It was rather cold in Sicily in March , so outdoor meals would have been uncomfortable. We ate indoors. I am guessing this will change as the weather warms, but some of the places we ate at did not have room for outdoor dining.

Posted by
1075 posts

I guess I am a bit confused by the individuals that are signed up for tours that don't want to eat in restaurants. This doesn't make sense to me. It is a group tour. You are going to be exposed to people. You will lose a lot of the experience of a group tour if you try to keep yourself isolated from the group. My advice (even though nobody asked for it ) is not to go on a tour until you are comfortable with the conditions. Anyways, I hope everyone enjoys their travel and that nobody gets sick.

Posted by
15 posts

Wow thanks for all the responses! This is very helpful intel from the road on what to expect!