June 16, 2020 Announcement: reopening plans!
According to the most recent notice from the Guides Association of New York, it looks like we can now start planning for a return to small group walking tours. My tours will have to be somewhat modified, and I don’t know how many people will show up for these modified tours, especially as many of my visitors are international tourists. But I am hopeful!
Here is the message from the Guides Association of New York [GANYC]:
A week ago, New York City began Phase 1 of reopening… In theory, our industry is part of Phase 4; that’s where ‘Arts and Entertainment’ (i.e. Broadway and museums) and ‘Recreation’ comes back. However, an already existing New York state ruling allows for non-essential gatherings of a maximum of ten people, as long as all are wearing masks/face coverings, and engaging in some manner of social distancing. So, theoretically, private walking tours could begin now- provided that they follow these restrictions. And keep in mind, the ten-person limit would be inclusive of you- the guide!
Well, it’s all I need to hear! I’m very eager to reopen and try to salvage this thing.
I’ve updated my tour schedule with modified offerings. You can view the calendar below, at the end of this post. The next available tour will be Tuesday, July 14, just because I need to give customers a chance to decide to get out of their pajamas, which is a big deal after three months of being in the same pair!
So here is the plan for now: I will offer tours every Tuesday and Friday through the second half of July and all of August. I hope to give tours in September and beyond, but it’s harder to plan that far in advance.
According to GANYC, my optimism (as always) should be tempered: “We ought expect that tourism, as we’ve known it, will not return until Spring 2021 at the earliest. The next 9 months may likely be dribs and drabs, and many guides may only work sporadically.” I might not have enough customers to keep the doors open. To preemptively address this concern, I have to decided to keep the fees for any booking in an escrow until after the tour. This way, I will have the financial means to refund bookings if I can’t keep this up.
I don’t intend to make my tours very complicated or to inundate you with fancy safety measures. Here is the short of what the plan is:
- For the time being, I will offer only offer the Williamsburg walking tours.
- Also for the time being, I will offer a modified schedule of: Tuesday at 1 pm and Friday at 11 am.
- As per the rules, I have set the maximum bookable amount of people to 9 per tour.
- We will still have 2 food stops, but will not sit down in the restaurants.
- I’m not big on masks, but in order to stay out of trouble, I will wear one.
- As always, I will use a wireless microphone system. This will allow you to hear me well even with a mask on and within wandering distance from me. I have always used alcohol wipes to clean the earpieces that customers wear, but if you want to take extra precautions, I will have wipes on me so you can give yours a second wipe-down.
- Consider paying $6 for refund insurance. This is available when you check out via the booking software. You’ll be able to cancel within 24 hours of the tour for a full refund of the ticket fee.
I know this might not sound like so much fun, but I promise I will be as easygoing about all this as possible. And if being within any distance of people still gives you the willies, or if my schedule doesn’t work for you, consider doing my self-guided tour, which will launch next week. You’ll get a video tour with yours truly plus a handbook and interactive Google map to get you out there on your own! Sign up here, and I’ll send you an email when it’s ready for purchase.
Looking forward to seeing you!