Tour Operators Aren’t Rushing to Ditch Mask Mandates

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Although tour operators frequently deal with customers frustrated by having to wear masks, they mostly stick to their own mandates, especially since many destinations where tour operators operate trips still have rules in place.

Rashaad Jordan

A federal judge’s decision last week to overturn the mask mandate on public transportation in the United States has led five major US airlines to drop their mask requirements for passengers and staff on domestic flights. Dozens of transit agencies in the United States have also decided to lift their mask mandates following the judgment.

And As more and more industries grapple with issues with mask requirements, tour operators – one of the sectors hardest hit by travel during the pandemic – are not rushing to lift the mandates, especially since many of them are organizing trips to destinations where masks are still required in public places. Tour operators are maintaining their mandates despite tensions over customers frustrated by having to wear masks.

“We continue to follow local regulations regarding masks, as there are always country-specific requirements,” said Steve Born, Chief Marketing Officer at Globus family of brands, which includes Cosmos, Avalon Waterways and Monograms. “And we continue to require them at self-service catering stations on our ships and in our hotels.”

Born cited Italy as an example of a destination where Globus operates that has maintained strict mask rules. Although the use of masks outdoors is no longer required outdoors, except where social distancing is not possible, FFP2 masks must always be worn on all forms of transport as well as indoor venues such as theatres, concert halls and concert halls. Born said customers who fail to comply with the requirement could be denied boarding or entry to these locations.

G Adventures also requires customers to wear masks immobile, whether the company wears a travel mask in a location that requires it or not.

“We currently have no plans to make any changes to our Travel with confidence policy that is in place for all of our tours,” Ben Weiher, the company’s vice president of operations, said of the policy that requires travelers to bring masks and wear them on vehicles and wherever social distancing occurs. social is not possible. Weiher added that the same rules apply to its experience directors, who serve as leaders on company trips.

However, tour operators have also found that some customers are unwilling to follow the rules of such rules. “We had customers who didn’t want to wear (masks),” said smartTours CEO Christine Petersen. “I had to reach out and ask customers to please follow the rules.” Similarly, Melissa DaSilva, the US President of Tours in Trafalgaracknowledged that his company had to stress to frustrated customers the need to wear masks.

“Sometimes wearing a mask can be frustrating for anyone, but our guests understand that if the government of the place we are visiting requires it, they will comply,” DaSilva said.

However, what measures are tour operators taking when conducting tours to destinations that do not explicitly require the wearing of masks in public? DaSilva said his company relies on its wellness directors — who make sure restaurants, hotels or other places where travelers adhere to local protocols — to advise customers when and where to wear masks while traveling. In addition to looking to its wellness directors to guide travelers, Trafalgar is also using a hands-off approach to masks.

“As mandates continue to change, we will leave the choice up to our customers as long as they respect local mandates in the destinations we visit,” DaSilva said, adding that customers generally wear masks on its buses and in situations where social distancing is difficult.

But as health authorities warn that The fight against Covid is far from over, how long will companies that take a different approach to Trafalgar keep their mask mandates in place? Born declined to provide a timeline, saying the Globus would refer to information from sources such as the US Centers for Disease Control and health experts in the countries it operates in before making a decision on masks. Weiher echoed Born’s response, adding that G Adventures still considers the health and safety protocols the company has adopted for its tours as necessary.

Meanwhile, DaSilva refuses to close the door on implementing a mask mandate for guests.

“We will continue to monitor case levels around the world to decide whether to mandate mask wearing in settings where mask wearing is not mandated by a government or company,” he said. she declared.