A safe visit during an enduring pandemic

Two years and counting, the world is in the middle of the biggest wave yet (no numbering as it differs from country to country) of the Covid-19 pandemic. Omicron is the word on everybody’s lips and minds. As a tour guide, and an avid traveler, I have seen firsthand how important it is to stick to protocols and what works to keep guests safe.

Let me state the obvious: tourism here in Gothenburg flatlined these past two years. The only bookings I’ve had were canceled because cruise ships never came or because they only let passengers ashore in what the industry labels “bubbles”. This is funny because they happily break the bubbles as long as the cruise lines supply the guides… I’ve seen this first hand during my own travel.

What can I do to stay safe?

A bleak winter’s sun shining over the Gothenburg archipelago. Photo: private

So how do you stay safe when you travel? It’s actually not rocket science: you behave just as you would back home. You practice physical and social distancing, i.e. you try to meet fewer people than you normally would, and you keep those magic six feet (2m) from others. If you want to be extra safe, wear an N95/FFP2-mask to protect yourself (surgical masks don’t protect you, only others from your droplets.) Wash your hands regularly, and carry hand sanitizer with you, in case you feel the need for a quick rinse and there’s no water. Also, make sure your vaccinations are up to spec, which means two basic shots for most plus a booster.

Covid-19 rapid antigen test

What can I offer as a guide? Well, first of all, I’m vaccinated, and I get my booster today (despite my age, I had to wait as Sweden strictly vaccinates in the order of age/conditions and downward.) I’m also on the cautious side in terms of my personal life. I will happily wear a face mask if you feel safer, and I carry hand sanitizer in the car (if we use mine or a third-party limousine.) I will also test myself before meeting any clients with a rapid test, the results of which I am obviously happy to share. Should the test come back positive, we will obviously cancel the tour at no cost to you.

Why Sweden is “lax” on face masks

Visitors to Sweden remark on the “lax” attitude we have toward face masks. There are several reasons for that. The science of face masks isn’t black or white. Yes, they can make a difference, IF used properly (and that is a big if!) However, most people don’t use them properly. We’ve traveled to several countries with face mask mandates and we see how people use them, again and again (eww!), under the nose, around the chin, etc. Here, our government feels it is safer to stay home with ‘any’ symptom than to leave the house, and the government pays our salaries while we’re home, sick. Few other nations offer that, and I understand that if you have to go to work even when feeling ill, you better wear a mask. Therefore, in a way, our homes are our face masks. We are still asked to wear them in tight spaces, e.g. public transport during rush hour.

View westward towards Vinga Lighthouse, the westernmost point of Gothenburg

A Private Tour is a very safe way to visit our city

With a private guide, visiting Gothenburg during the pandemic is a very safe way to get to know our beautiful town. You don’t need to be around anyone else, ensuring proper social and physical distancing. Knowing my city inside and out, I also know where to go and what situations to avoid in order to provide you with a safe experience. At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide where your comfort zone lies, and I look forward to working with you in preparing for a great visit to our beautiful city and region.