New guidelines for a return of European river cruises following Covid-19 have been issued.

The measures have been put forward by Swiss-based IG RiverCruise which has been representing the sector for 20 years.

The guidance comes as lockdown measures begin to be relaxed and river cruise companies prepare to resume sailings.

The guidance, covering passenger and crew health and hygiene,  is described as offering a “uniform solution” for companies to follow.

However, the rules will be adapted as required and will “expire immediately” if measures to contain the pandemic are withdrawn.

The minimum standards include 1.5 metre social distancing on board.

But where this cannot be guaranteed, crew should wear disposable gloves, aprons or protective masks.

Passengers will be required to travel with a completed “infection protection” questionnaire, be checked at check-in and wear masks in public areas.

Luggage will be disinfected before being loading on board.

Crew should be tested daily using a contactless clinical thermometer and be trained in the use of PPE and hygiene measures.

Self-service buffets should be removed and replaced by table service in restaurants while items shared by passengers such as magazines or bar snacks will no longer be available.

Bar seating will be blocked or removed to avoid passengers picking up their own drinks.

On board libraries should remain closed and live entertainment will only be offered while observing social distancing.

Cabins will need to be cleaned to avoid cross-contamination.

Immediate isolation will be imposed on any suspected cases of illness among passengers or crew.

The details are being reflected in new health protocols being introduced by CroisiEurope.

The company confirmed that table service will replace buffet lunches and dinners while breakfast choices will be reduced.

Passengers will be recommended to wear masks in common areas, with contactless payment encouraged together with social distancing.

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