City implements regulations as carriage tours reopen for business

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Horse-drawn carriage tours were among those businesses packed this weekend after they were given a go-head from the City of Charleston to resume operations with specific COVID-19 protocols in place.

The General Manager of Old South Carriage Company, Derek Evenhouse said they’ve been working alongside the city since the shutdown to reopen—even decreasing their tour sizes.  

The maximum number of customers or people that we can have is 10 people in total. So that number’s come down significantly.  

Derek Evenhouse, GM Old South Carriage Co.

The new regulations are more than just about the size of the carriage tours—they also are to have masks available for customers and have added plexiglass that can be moved throughout the carriage.  

We’re able to either put plexiglass in-between customers, tour guides, or different parties. Additionally, we can wear masks if we are having parties that are in close proximity, and also, in a lot of these carriages, we’re able to space people out and start to get that social distancing between different groups. So we’re trying to not get parties right next to each other or anything like that, but also we’re able to keep six feet a lot of times between people depending on the different dynamics.  

Derek Evenhouse, GM Old South Carriage Co.

One tour guide said that many of those that were in Charleston over the weekend were from farther spots such as California and Massachusetts, areas that were not within driving ranges that Explore Charleston previously said were their target tourists.

Ellen Harley, a board member with the Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates, said on Saturday they watched numerous carriage rides go by—and little to no social distancing.

People sitting cheek to jowl to each other and not knowing necessarily who that person is sitting next to you. People don’t have masks on, drivers—many drivers. Not all, but many drivers don’t have masks on. We see that as a problem for us as citizens. 

Ellen Harley, Board Member Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates 

According to the notice sent out to carriage companies, the guidelines say that all guides must wear a face mask or face shield when in close proximity of guests unless plexiglass or other material is in between to act as a barrier, something Harley said was not the case—making it the city’s responsibility. 

The city has the main responsibility of protecting it’s citizens. That’s its main and most important responsibility.  

Ellen Harley, Board Member Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates 

The city has implemented these regulations and more for the next 30 days. Upon the end of those 30 days, they’ll decide if new ones need to be put in place.

Full list of COVID-19 regulations for Carriage Tours per City of Charleston:

  • Carriage tour group sizes will be limited to a maximum of ten customers, minors included.
  • All customers will be encouraged to bring their own face mask, however carriage companies will have masks available and/or available for sale to participants.
  • All tour guides will be equipped with hand sanitizer and are to wear a face mask or shield when in close proximity of guests unless plexiglass or other material is in between to act as a barrier, all guests are wearing masks and the first row of carriage remains empty.
  • All customers on a carriage will be required to wear a mask or will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask provided that the carriage is equipped with plexiglass or other material that serves as a protective barrier between each party.
  • Carriage companies are to have proper spacing for all customers waiting to be on a
    carriage tour. Scheduled appointments to minimize gatherings on sidewalks is strongly
    encouraged.
  • Carriage companies will get authorizations and/or waivers that no patron has had a
    fever or COVID-19 like symptoms in the past fourteen (14) days.
  • Hand sanitizer shall be readily available.
  • Safety protocols will be implemented regarding boarding and exiting of passengers.
  • Carriages will be sanitized after each tour to CDC/DHEC standards.
  • Online marketing material will reflect COVID-19 safety protocol.
  • COVID-19 safety standards will be posted at the embarkation and debarkation locations
    and guides will present safety protocol to participants at the start of the tour.
  • All tours must follow CDC and DHEC guidelines and industry standards.
  • As a condition of opening, each carriage operator agrees that City has the expectation that
    this agreement will be adhered to.

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