We sat down with Grand Classroom's own Guide and Motorcoach Manager, Tim Krepp, to discuss safety protocols while on tour.
Here's a summary:
Tim was a tour guide for 15 years and is based in Washington, D.C. He's done tours all up and down the east coast - cities, outdoor adventure tours, camping tours, he's done it all.
How will a tour look and feel different than before? Are there things we'll miss out on that we wouldn't have before?
-We're talking about the period before the vaccine or end of this, however it comes. We're talking about the time between now and then that is very fluid but one where we're working with social distancing and extensive cleaning, etc. We'll need mental, physical, and emotional flexibility during those times.
Will guides be able to make adjustments on the fly in light of the situation?
-Yes, but that's nothing new for COVID. Grand Classroom has always allowed guides flexibility. If there's a rainstorm or a presidential motorcade, guides need to be able to change things on the fly. But our guides know their role and can call on some other things for the group to do, maybe a hidden gem. This is just one more complication in a field of complications. We listen to our customers's needs and know what their priorities are so that we can attune specifically to those, especially if something needs to be changed.
What about some of the nuts and bolts of being on tour? Will groups be required to wear masks? Will there be hand washing and hand sanitizing?
-We should plan on wearing masks in indoor spaces, including the bus. We don't want to encourage the spread of this virus at all. Grand Classroom loves getting groups outside and when we're out there we may be able to relax that restriction, especially in less densely populated areas like national parks. We will work with our motorcoach partners to ensure they have hand sanitizer and if they don't we will have it. We'll build in time for hand washing as well - before we leave the hotel for the day, before meals, and other important time. Those of us that are parents are probably already familiar with this with their kids.
How do we ensure guides are safe and not ill and will we have backups in place?
-We'll have our guides tested before putting them on tour. If a guide has any symptom we'll err on the side of caution. We'll also overstaff our tours in some cases with extra guides. This allows us to break up groups into smaller groups but ensures that if one guide gets sick we'll have someone who the group is familiar with to step in.
It's a very fluid situation so what we're discussing today may change or evolve. In light of that, where can people go with additional questions?