This information is correct as on Friday 18th September 2020
This statement is to reassure our customers that the Government’s announcement on Wednesday 9th September about social gatherings being limited to six people, does NOT affect any coach hires, day excursions, sports fixtures, private hire and holidays you have booked with us.
Some exemptions cover what businesses such as ours are allowed to safely and legally offer, compared with informal and private events. Here is important information from the guidance that applies to coach trips and group visits.
Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups. Premises or locations which are COVID-19 Secure will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their capacity limits, although any individual groups should not interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending with.
To summarise, group events are permitted when professionally organised by businesses who have made risk assessments and put in place good practices for COVID safety. When booking private hire and trips, you are seated in your own “bubbles” socially distanced from other passengers or within one bubble. For example, a single traveller will occupy a double seat and be asked to sit near the window or a couple/family in a bubble can sit together or a group of school pupils in a year group bubble can all sit together but will be socially distanced from other passengers who are not in that bubble. Coach hire organisers are being asked to do the same with their groups.
We are also asking for all passengers to wear a face-covering (where applicable – see below) and we are encouraging hand washing and sanitising at all stops.
We have COVID secure risk assessments and Safe Operating Procedures in place, as have all venues we are using too.
We hope this provides reassurance and helps you to understand the distinction between what is legally permitted privately and what is permitted within a business setting.
Also when boarding/disembarking the coach the passengers are asked to wear a face-covering whilst in close proximity to the driver and then once seated in a socially distanced space they may remove their face-covering.
All coaches are sanitised with a government-approved antibacterial spray after every journey where the passenger group changes, so every time you board one of our coaches you have the peace of mind the vehicle has been completely sanitised between hires.
Private Hire for Schools
The guidance for the full opening of schools in the autumn term of 2020 states that you will be able to resume non-overnight domestic educational visits. It is not currently known when establishments will be allowed to resume overnight or overseas visits with children under 18.
Schools should adopt the same policy as they do within the school and keep the bubbles together whilst on board the coach, this could be classes, year groups or whatever policy the school has in place in regards to the bubbles, this helps control and keep a record and reduce risks of the potential effects of the virus.
When planning a visit, you should take the current government guidance into account as part of your process of risk assessment, and then check it regularly in the days and weeks leading up to the visit, and during a residential visit, and make any changes necessary to your plans.
Parents and participants may naturally be concerned, so you should discuss their concerns with them and keep them informed about the situation and how you plan to mitigate any risks.
Because of COVID-19, there may be a higher than normal risk of leaders being unable to go on a visit, and so you may need to take this into account when planning the staffing of visits.
If you are planning a visit which involves another group (perhaps a group overseas), such as an exchange visit, or if you are planning to host or work with another group (perhaps an overseas group visiting the UK), you should keep in contact with them and be aware that they might need to change or cancel the arrangement.
If you plan to visit a venue such as a museum, gallery, or to attend a public event such as a concert or sporting fixture, or to stay in accommodation such as a hostel or hotel, or if you are using a tour operator or activity provider, discuss the potential effects of COVID-19 with them at the time of booking, and keep in touch with them during the run-up to the visit.
The use of face coverings for children over the age of 11, must be worn if they are likely to come into very close contact with people outside of their group or whom they do not normally meet. If you are on a private hire and you are socially distanced from other passengers you may remove the mask.
Also, when boarding and disembarking the coach the teachers and helpers are asked to wear face-coverings whilst in close proximity to the driver and then once seated in a socially distanced space face-covering may be removed.
All coaches are sanitised with a government-approved antibacterial spray after every journey where the passenger group changes, so every time you board one of our coaches you can have the peace of mind.
Guidelines for School Buses
Where walking or cycling is not possible, dedicated transport (such as a minibus or coach) should therefore be used. The following guidance is taken from the DfE advice for home-to-school transport.
Pupils on dedicated school services do not mix with the general public on those journeys and tend to be consistent.
The approach to dedicated transport should align as far as possible with the principles underpinning the approach being adopted by the school. It is important to consider:
- how pupils are grouped on transport, where possible this should reflect the bubbles that are adopted within the school;
- school buses are classed as one bubble as the pupils are frequent travellers within the same group and come in connection with one another regularly;
- use of hand sanitiser upon boarding and/or disembarking;
- additional cleaning of vehicles;
- organised queuing and boarding where possible;
- distancing within vehicles wherever possible;
- the use of face coverings for children over the age of 11, must be worn on all Ausden Clark school travel.
All coaches are sanitised with a government-approved antibacterial spray after every journey where the passenger group changes, so every time the students board our coaches you have the peace of mind the vehicle has been completely sanitised between hires within the last 24 hours.
The team at Ausden Clark would like to offer you a massive thank you for your patience and understanding during this very difficult time we are all facing together.