The following guidance was published by ALVA on 5th July and will, as has been the case with all its pandemic bulletins, be updated as situations and government policies evolve.

ALVA draft voluntary guidance for maintaining social distancing and other measures post-19th July


On 14th June the Prime Minister announced that the official easing of social distancing and other mitigation measures in England, scheduled for the 21st June, would be postponed until at least 19th July. The First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland announced that this timescale would be effective in the devolved nations too.

Whilst attractions, like all other businesses and parts of the economy, are keen to fully re-open as soon as possible, and to recover the economic losses of the last 16 months, they have put the safety of the visitors and their staff before all other considerations. As a result, Public Health England confirms that there have been no verifiable cases of Coronavirus transmission at a visitor attraction in the UK since the epidemic began.

Attractions continue to work to ensure that their sites and their staff are COVID-safe and adhere to all safety requirements and that their visitor experience is both COVID-safe and enjoyable.  They have followed the encouragement from us to ‘sanitise your site, not the visitor experience”.  Research into feedback at visitor attractions, undertaken by the consultancy Decision House, shows that public feel that attractions are ‘doing the right thing and that their staff are behaving in the right way’ to ensure safe and enjoyable visits.

Easing social distancing and other mitigation measures

Attractions will, of course, continue to prioritise the safety of their staff and visitors above all things and to ensure that both staff and visitors feel safe and comfortable at their sites.

Visitor sentiment research, commissioned by ALVA and undertaken by Decision House during 17th to the 22nd June 2021 and published on 30th June, shows that a significant majority (75%) of the visitor-attraction-going UK public are not yet ready for social distancing and other measures to be removed or eased even if the Government allowed easing to occur.

As a result, UK visitor attractions have decided to be guided by their visitors’ own sentiment and levels of caution and, at their discretion, to maintain the following, beyond the 19th July, and until the end of August (to be reviewed):

  • Maintain reduced capacity at sites in order to avoid crowds
  • Maintain the requirement for visitors to book at most times, especially at weekends, whilst also allowing some time slots to be available for ‘walk-ups’
  • Maintain social distancing on site, though this may be reduced to 1m rather 2m
  • And to keep the requirement for visitors to wear a face mask indoors unless a visitor is exempt from wearing one

Other businesses in other parts of the economy will also be maintaining social distancing etc. in order to ensure that their customers and staff are both safe and feel comfortable.

Attractions will wish to interpret this guidance for themselves, according to their own circumstances, and it should be noted that this is sector-wide guidance rather than requirements, but we hope that this enables attractions to fulfil their social and legal obligations and their duty of care. Attractions, like all businesses, have the right to refuse entry or service, as long as that right is not based on any discriminatory basis.

Latest Visitor Sentiment Research, commissioned by ALVA, and undertaken by Decision House

  • Since late April 2021, there has been another positive shift in appetite for visiting attractions when they re-open. In particular, some of those ‘waiting to see what happens for a short while’ are now ready to visit, although this hesitant group still represents around 40% of the market
  • Appetite for visiting has continued to grow across all age groups, in the South of England, Wales and Scotland, although it has stalled elsewhere in England – particularly the North West
  • Although confidence is clearly growing and anxiety around using facilities falling, 60% still express fear or concerns about visiting – especially on measures to limit crowds / keep distancing. Three-quarters of the attractions-visiting public are not yet ready to remove Covid-19 safety measures, the same as at end April 2021

Specimen statement to be used by visitor attractions:

“This visitor attraction has decided to maintain social distancing and other mitigation measures, including reduced capacity and face mask use (unless exempt) until otherwise announced, in accordance with industry best practice and guidance issued by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.”

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