This high level summary guidance is intended to support the mitigations that are already included within the Regulations themselves as well as associated Statutory Guidance produced by WG. This guidance should be considered alongside all other legal obligations including in relation to health and safety, employment and equality.
It also supplements the comprehensive guidance contained within ‘Tourism and hospitality businesses: guidance for a phased reopening’ which sets out sector guidance and a framework for decision making in a range of different settings. All workplaces and settings should take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus This document also signposts to the wider guidance provided by Welsh Government as well as further guidance that has been produced by the relevant industries.
In addition to this, underground attractions will follow the following guiding principles, much of which is consistent with the over-arching existing guidance for the wider tourism and hospitality sector:
- Prominence should be given to the message to staff and visitors that social and physical distancing rules should be strictly adhered to by individuals and by household and extended household groups.
- Prominence should be given to the message to both staff and visitors that people who have confirmed COVID-19 with symptom onset within the last 7 days, people with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (new onset of dry, persistent cough, temperature of 37.8 or higher, new onset of loss of or change to taste or smell) and people who have been asked to self-isolate because they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should be self-isolating at home and should stay away from the facility. This message should be promoted not just at the time of booking, but specifically on arrival at the attraction.
- Measures must be in place to control the number of visitors at all times to avoid crowds and prevent congregation of people in areas such as entrances, pay desks etc. Visits should be booked in advance where possible but with all visitors, their details should be recorded in registers kept for 21 days with sufficient detail to allow the TTP process to identify people if needed. This contact information should be checked again on arrival at the attraction.
- There should be timed slots for people to enter the caves/mines and visitors should be advised that they need to leave within a given time period, without having to rush but making steady progress through the system/structures. There should be no bottlenecks within the attraction and especially where there are areas with a lack of airflow. Each party should be held until the party in front has moved at least 2 metres ahead and not allowed to overtake another party when progressing through the system/activity.
- There should be a one-way system throughout with separation between parties/groups of at least 2 metres at all times. There should be signage and markers to facilitate this throughout the facility, above and below ground.
- Parties/groups can consist of up to 2 households forming one Extended household”, so that 2 metres distance is not required between people within the Extended household but the group should not be mixed any further. If acquaintances who are not part of an Extended household” wish to go round together, they can enter sequentially but must keep the 2 metres distance between each party at all times.
- There should be staff located at the entrances and exits of the structures and at key points within it to monitor the situation and maintain the safe flow of people through them.
- All staff and visitors (unless medically exempt) should wear face coverings where practical when underground and reminded to minimise conversation/interaction.
- There should be hand sanitisation stations at the entrances and exits and at key points within. People should be reminded to use these as well as being reminded to minimise touching surfaces as they pass through, though they can still use features to enhance safety such as grab handles.
- Any commonly touched surfaces should be cleaned with an appropriate method at the start, end and regularly through the day.
- Any equipment that is provided to visitors, eg lamps, helmets, boots etc, need to be cleaned with an appropriate method before and after use.
- PPE for staff should be provided, particularly in relation to any circumstances where there is close contact with visitors, such as for the fitting of harnesses or other safety equipment, based on a risk assessment of the level and expected duration of the contact
- During the 2 week period from reopening in line with this guidance, visits will be undertaken by local authorities/HSE to support the opening of the attractions, clarify any additional issues that may arise and to share best practice.
- Emergency evacuation/escape and rescue procedures must be reviewed to ensure that relevant procedures are in place where required. In an emergency situation the risk to life takes precedent over measures such as physical distancing, however consideration must be given to areas such as muster points and safe holding spaces.