As you are aware that the World Health Organisation recently declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic a week ago. Subsequently, the South African government then declared it a national disaster on the 15 March 2020. The SA President further announced a range of other interventions to be taken in order to curb the spread of this pandemic and reduce the impact of the virus. Some of these interventions included imposing travel bans which came into effect today (18 March 2020).
Other parts of the President’s declaration also included introducing rapid, effective response mechanisms to help contain the spread of the virus – which include, but are not limited to; businesses intensifying measures regarding hygiene controls, discouragement of domestic travel and prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people.
The Blue Train operates two train sets – Train Set 1 and 2 with maximum capacities of 54 and 82 guests respectively. At full capacity, Train Set 2 will have a maximum of 117 people (82 guests and 35 crew members) at any one time. This will be in contravention of President’s directive where mass events or gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited.
Furthermore, On the 17 March 2020 a Risk Assessment was conducted and concluded to determine the impact the COVID-19 virus has on The Blue Train, our guests and crew. The findings came out very high at 80% and 90% consequence and likelihood ratings, respectively. The impact of the COVID-19 to The Blue Train has been assessed and it could be catastrophic to guests, employees, their immediate families and the entire operations.
As a result of the President’s directive as well as the Risk Assessment findings, we therefore regret to inform you that THE BLUE TRAIN SERVICES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED, UNTIL 30 APRIL 2020.
The duration of the suspension will again be reviewed in mid-April; pending new developments and pronouncements by the World Health Organisation and our country’s national health institutions, on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following options for guests with forward bookings still remain:
- Immediate cancellation (with no penalties) for guests travelling between (19 March – 31 August 2020 only) or travel at a later date (valid until 31 December 2021).
- Postponement of travel till end 31 December 2021 for guests booked to travel after 31 August 2020
- For cancellations of travel after the 31 August 2020, The Blue Train’s standard Terms and Conditions (which include cancellation penalties) will apply.
Please do accept our sincerest apologies for this inconvenience. The safety and well-being of everyone, especially during these trying times is our ultimate priority.