As the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, London is one of the world’s most popular destinations for city breaks and business trips – and it’s not too difficult to understand why.
Given its host of fine attractions including leading art galleries, museums, theatres, bars, restaurants, historical sites and so much more – to say nothing of its reputation as an epicentre for business – in normal times, it might be difficult for you to justify not scheduling a trip to London at some point.
But of course, these are not ‘normal times’. At the time of typing, the coronavirus pandemic was continuing to make its impact felt across the globe. This raises the question of how you can help to safeguard the health of yourself and anyone travelling with you to the capital.
Here, then, are just five tips that we hope will make you feel safer when visiting this wonderfully stimulating and truly outward-looking global city.
Book a well-equipped and conveniently located hotel
The longer you spend outside surrounded by the public during your London break or business trip, the higher your chances of catching the virus will probably be.
That doesn’t mean it’s best to cocoon yourself in your hotel right through your time here, not least as that might largely defeat the point of you having travelled to London at all. However, it does mean there’s a strong case for reserving a room in a comfortable and generously-equipped hotel that is also close to all – or at least most – of the places you are likely to visit during your trip.
Dorsett Hotel, City, for example, offers complimentary Wi-Fi throughout, and is mere walking distance away from popular tourist sites such as the Tower of London and Tate Modern.
Practise social distancing
It’s a simple concept that most of us should be accustomed to at this stage of the pandemic; the closer you are physically to someone else with the COVID-19 virus, the likelier you are to become infected yourself.
At the time this article was being written, the UK government was advising people to keep two metres away from others as a precaution, or one metre where other measures help to mitigate the risk.
This, in turn, may have a lot of practical implications for your next London visit. You may feel more inclined to spend time in outdoor spaces than in pubs or restaurants, for example, although such hospitality businesses have now reopened with their own measures for minimising the infection risk for their staff and patrons.
Wear a face covering
Face masks or face coverings have become a more common sight than ever before in London since the onset of the pandemic.
As with so much else about governments’ handling of the coronavirus outbreak around the world, the latest rules about such measures as face coverings in London are liable to change over time.
Nonetheless, it’s probably very wise right now to wear face coverings in any setting where you are likely to come in close physical contact with others, such as in shops, museums and galleries, as well as on crowded pavements and on board buses and trains.
As of August 2020, for instance, travellers on the London public transport network were required to wear face coverings for the entire duration of their journeys, as stated by the Transport for London (TfL) website.
Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
Hopefully, you will be well-practised by now in washing your hands with soap and water, for the amount of time it takes for you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, in accordance with NHS advice.
In London, that should certainly mean you take the opportunity to wash your hands in such a way every time you encounter a sink, soap and water on your travels around the capital.
But it’s also a good idea to carry hand sanitiser with you for that extra level of cleaning during those times you aren’t near a sink. After all, there’s so much opportunity for the virus to be transferred to your hands while you are in London, including whenever you touch any surface.
Be careful about when and where you travel
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly heightened the importance of all of us carefully planning our movements in our day-to-day lives in order to minimise the chances of contracting the virus. Well, you’ll have to continue doing that on your London city break or business trip.
That will almost certainly mean – if possible – not travelling on the public transport network during peak times, such as on weekday mornings or shortly after 5pm when many London workers typically head home. It might also make a difference to your exact means of travel, with walking and cycling around the city popular and largely safe ways of getting from one place to the next.
Hopefully, a lot of the above advice will be obvious to you and mere ‘common sense’. Alas, for all too many people, it frequently isn’t. Still, as long as you do follow such tips and apply care and logic to other aspects of your London trip, you should be able to enjoy a genuinely fulfilling and healthy visit to the capital.