February 12, 2021 - COVID-19 Update on operations for Down East Tours. Hitting the ‘Pause” Button
Back in April 30, 2020 we suspended all touring services due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) and the world-wide pandemic, as that was the right thing to do. On July 10, 2020 we released an update on resuming activities where at the that time travel restrictions were easing within the Atlantic Provinces and we were hopeful, as all tour operators were, that we would have some sort of season. Health and Safety Best Practices were put into place and outlined, as that was the right thing to do.
We held out the hope of some tours from the Atlantic Bubble. Eventually, the bubble collapsed. Very little travel between the provinces and the USA Borders were stilled closed. This meant for many operators, including Down East Tours, zero tours/activity.
Hope that was held out since March 2020 was now that hope was being refocused for the 2021 season and for things to get back to normal. Still, not knowing what will happen.
Earlier this month the Federal Government announced a Cruise Ship Ban into Canada Waters until February 2022. Additionally, there are still travel restrictions for entry into Canada, including 14-day self isolation and negative COVID testing requirements. The USA Border still is still closed and likely will be for the foreseeable future. These restrictions are necessary to help stop the spread of COVID 19. It is unknown at this point how future travelers entering Canada for tourism will be affected or any documentation to be expected. Or when this will be allowed.
85% of Down East Tours guests are travelers arriving in Halifax by cruise ship with the majority of these tours having American Guests. The balance is from Hotel Guests and guests from around the world. The world-wide pandemic still ongoing and still evolving. There are now vaccines but there are some new variants to COVID-19 leading to other unknowns. With this information, I do not see any return to tourism activity here in Nova Scotia until April 2022 at the earliest. Additionally, a more sustainable activity in offering tours may not happen until June 2022. Again, this is still an unknown situation and a fair distance into the future.
Having said that, I have come to the reluctant but necessary decision to put on ‘Pause’ all Down East Tours operations indefinitely, as this is the right thing to do. I will re-evaluate in the future the finger can be taken off the ‘Pause” button. This will be based on when things get back to a new normal from the Cruise Ship ban to be lifted to the international border being reopened to the United States and internationally. Tourism can and will rebuild but it will take time.
Until then I will continue respond to inquires and to post Tour Photos to keep the hope alive. I appreciate all the support and well wishes.
In the meantime, I will focus my attention on my off-season activity of Home Improvement Services. Please visit www.fb.com/ziltech for more information.
Take care and stay safe.
Down East ToursJuly 24, 2020 - Update from the Province of Nova Scotia.
Province Announces Mandatory Masks in Indoor Public Places
Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, announced today, July 24, that masks will become mandatory in most indoor public places starting July 31.
“As we open our economy, our schools and our communities, we must continue to be vigilant to minimize the impact of a second wave of COVID-19,” said Premier McNeil. “Wearing a non-medical mask in most indoor public places is a key part of how we protect each other and support our local businesses so they can stay open for the long run.”
Full details here - NEW RELEASE
------------------------------------July 12, 2020 - SAFE & HEALTHY TOUR EXPERIENCE
At Down East Tours, we will always put health and safety first. With the COVID-19 outbreak, it has become essential to take consistent, careful, and deliberate actions to ensure a safer touring environment for all. We expect every guide and traveler to act responsibly to protect the health and safety of themselves, their companions, and the wider communities in which they live, work and travel.Health & Safety Best Practices for All Tours:
- Travelers should not go on tour if you, or someone with whom you have been in contact, are sick or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms (such as cough, fever, shortness of breath). Travelers can contact us if they need to cancel their tour at the last minute.
- Avoid physical contact between guide and traveler; no hugs/handshakes.
- Hand sanitizer, spare masks and wipes will be available at all times.
- Wear masks while in enclosed spaces such as in vehicles and suggested in other enclosed spaces such as museums.
- Be aware of and respect local health and safety regulations and advisories.
- Vehicles will be deep cleaned/sanitized before and after each tour, including all surfaces to be properly sanitized.
We will keep travelers informed prior to the date of the tour to:
- Confirm ground rules, to make them aware of local regulations and advisories, and to gauge their level of comfort with any associated risks.
- Provide travelers with the information and time they will need to make any necessary preparations for the tour (e.g. arranging personal supplies such as water, food, sanitizer, masks, wipes).
- Arrange meeting locations which allow for optimal physical distancing - for instance, open areas free from crowding.
- Actively protect travelers from others who are not respecting their space or adhering to safety measures.
- Plan routes and itineraries to avoid crowds and busy periods.
- Schedule regular hand washing breaks.
As we embrace the “new normal” we recommend to continue to:
Our goal on tour is to have the best experience and being prepared with best practices.
- Wash/sanitize hands frequently;
- Cough or sneeze only into a closed elbow
- Avoid shared items
- Maintain physical distance between yourself and those outside your bubble.
We hope that providing this reassurance to travelers will get us one step closer to returning to the “normal” all of our livelihoods depend upon.
Down East Tours
------------------------------------July 10, 2020 - Update on Resuming Touring Activities
It has been a challenging year for many tour operators in Nova Scotia and indeed in Canada and the rest of the world. COVID-19 has prevented travel and has brought tourism to a halt. With things continuing to improve here in Nova Scotia, some restrictions are easing and travel is slowly resuming, especially for the Atlantic Provinces with the Atlantic Bubble being in place July 3, 2020. This means travel within the four Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador are allowed without the need for 14 day self-isolation.
Down East Tours will resume taking Tour Bookings for 2020 active touring for Aug 17, 2020 to the end. We will be putting in additional measures to ensure a Safe & Healthy Tour Experience to be published shortly. Note that we are still actively taking tour bookings for the 2021 season.
We also encourage our guests to stay up-to-date through Canada’s Public Health and Nova Scotia’s Information websites.
Down East Tours
------------------------------------April 30, 2020 - Temporarily Suspending all Touring Services due to Corona Virus / Covid-19
The declaration of COVID‑19 as a worldwide health pandemic is having an impact on our lives, business operations and the way we interact with one another. With this in mind, we continue to monitor and assess the updates provided by the Government of Canada and Public Health. This information guides our approach and helps ensure we take the steps that best protect our guests, reduce risk and ensure we continue serving your needs.
Things are changing rapidly and we’re reaching out with an update about our commitment to safety and well-being. We’ve decided it is in the best interest of all to suspend all touring services and availability until April 29, 2020 and reassess at that time. We will still be taking touring inquires/bookings and work with travelers to ensure flexibility to make any required changes if services continue to be interrupted beyond April 29, 2020.
We will be continuing to monitor the ongoing changes and update as required. Rest assured this will pass and when it does we will be ready to return with our services and explore this great province with you.
Thank you for all the support and understanding in these unprecedented times we are all facing.
Down East Tours
------------------------------------March 17, 2020 - Regarding the Corona Virus / Covid-19
We understand that COVID-19 is the primary thought on the minds for travelers and we are all concerned about this very fluid situation. This is true for all forms of traveling, including smaller private tours. Currently, there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in Nova Scotia at this time. We feel we can all still have the enjoyment to experience and exploring this vast province of Nova Scotia and we wish to ensure the safety and comfort of all guests and visitors.
For Down East Tours, there has always been in place a cleaning protocol after each tour and at the end of the touring day for the touring vehicle. This includes all surfaces with particular focus on high traffic and high contact areas. Corona viruses are easily eliminated by routine surface cleaning. This practice will continue as per normal. Additionally, we will continue to have communications and reminders with our guests and partners and on important health and safety measures.
Currently, we are still plan on operating when the Tourism/Touring season begins in April. All tours are very flexible and we can have a very enjoyable tour avoiding any highly crowded areas. To protect yourself and others, we ask that anyone who is feeling unwell refrain from following through with a tour booking with us. So that together we can ensure a safe and comfortable experience for everyone. For cases where travellers wish to reschedule or possibility cancel their tour due to any concerns, please contact us. We will be happy to offer reschedule or offering a full refund for those who have pre-booked with deposit or full payment up 24hrs before a starting time of a tour. This policy will be in place until May 1,2020
We continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide ongoing updates as needed. We also encourage our guests to stay up-to-date through Canada’s Public Health and Nova Scotia’s Information websites.
Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you soon.
Down East Tours