This is a serious allegation and important issue that deserves a thoughtful and immediate response. And while we truly regret that you did not enjoy your tour, the safety statements in your review are not true and I will take the time to thoroughly address your concerns so that future guests will have a better understanding of our safety operations during this difficult time for all of us.
Our company has chosen to meet or exceed the suggestions of the CDC, national, State and local guidelines for the protection and safety of all. We want our guests and employees to have the assurance that we are doing our best to provide a safe environment while they travel.
As a small, local business, we made the difficult decision to to cease operations in March 2020 until September 2020, foregoing our busiest season of the year due to Covid health concerns, and furloughing all of our employees for these months. This decision was made for the health and safety of our valued employees and guests as our entire Nation focused on stopping the spread of this virus. Since that time, the CDC and Department of Transportation have established guidelines for our industry to be able to offer safe practices for our businesses to be able to reopen.
For the past few weeks tourism in Fredericksburg has increased monumentally and we made the decision to begin providing tours again, but only if we could find a way to operate in a safe and socially responsible manner. You happened to be here on this, the busiest weekend in Fredericksburg of our year thus far and for the first time this year, our vehicle did happen to reach our maximum limit under our new Covid standards for occupancy.
Our vehicles go through stringent cleaning and fogging before and after every tour. Our fogging system is the same system used by hospital emergency services and first responder vehicles and by fogging, the disinfectant reaches every touchable surface.
Notices are posted on the entry doors of our vehicles and on the walls inside our vehicles outlining our safety standards and requirements for mask wearing, hand sanitizing, and safety of guests. Our local community is asking businesses to comply with a unified standard, and we are gladly taking part in this effort to stop or slow the spread of the virus.
We have installed plexiglass dividers between the driver, tour guide, and guests. Our employees provide a contactless ticket and boarding system. Even though on this particular tour there may have been someone on every bench, we sell no more than 50% occupancy seating online, and we no longer accept boarding without a reservation.
Guests are asked to find their seats when boarding our vehicles starting in the back and filling to the front. We ask everyone to use the hand sanitizer that is installed at the entrance of all vehicles.
We state that guests are to wear masks when on any public tour. All of this is announced when boarding, as well as on our website.
Our tickets are sold online and sales are currently capped at 50% of our legal trolley occupancy for public tours. I am perplexed that were you so concerned, why did you not choose to depart from the trolley and reach out to our management? There is a trolley stop during this tour that is within a block of the departure point and you could have chosen not to reboard the vehicle, and if you had contacted the driver or tour guide or management, we would have willingly refunded your tour costs due to your health concerns and provided an opportunity for you to return to the Visitor’s Center where we begin our tours.
While we are truly regretful that you did not have the experience that you hoped for, it is conflicting that you did choose to participate and did not voice your concerns until this review post. Hopefully, understanding the measures that we take for your safety will be an assurance to you and I appreciate the opportunity to hear and address your concern, even though it is through a negative review.
Last, though you took a tour with one of our new guides, sometimes those who do not speak fluent German struggle with the proper German pronunciation of certain of our heritage sites. All of us are new to a job at some point in our lives. Because we exist to provide our guests with an opportunity to learn about our area, we do train and equip our new guides with a script so that they can learn and share the points that would be most interesting to our visitors via facts and not ad-lib.
I'm sure that our guide was a bit nervous in the new role, but we are careful to hire people who love to share the beauty and history of our community with our visitors. Even so, it's natural to be nervous so we do allow them to bring their scripts with factual information on board until they are comfortable with the tour points.
We are a family oriented tour service, established to highlight the interesting points and historic culture of our community, and it is never our intent to disappoint any of our guests.