France Update

Greetings from Port Chalmers.

The port is still working, but otherwise our little village is like a ghost town.   Before today’s wet weather that was a bonus for the cyclists as with lack of traffic there were more bikes on the state highway than cars …..
We are receiving regular updates from our operators in France and last week the French government issued an ordinance, stating that in the case of cancellation due to Covid-19, a credit for any money paid has to be issued.    The validity of the credit varies between companies, but they are mostly for 12-18 months.   No obligation to refund money!
The rental boat and hotel barge operators are hoping the canals will re-open in May and are optimistically inviting new bookings with the condition that they can be changed/postponed without any penalty.   That is what most companies have already been doing and all our bookings for May and June have been postponed until 2021.   Clients who are travelling later are in a wait and see situation; like us.
For our September tour, we have travel insurance with Allianz Partners and like most insurers their Product Disclosure Statement has General Exclusion section, which “excludes claims arising from, related to or associated with an actual or likely epidemic or pandemic or the threat of an epidemic or pandemic”. 
Consequently, if you want to cancel your trip because of COVID-19, then the General Exclusion for an epidemic/pandemic will apply and cover is excluded.  If you want to re-arrange your flights/travel plans due to COVID-19, any General Exclusion for epidemic/pandemic will apply.   However, there are always exceptions, so check the details in your own policy and with the people who issued it, and you can always submit a claim to test the ‘fine print’.
This is very frustrating and disappointing, as we know how much time, energy and emotion goes into planning a trip to Europe.   Sadly all we can do is wait, isolate, keep washing the hands and hope for the best.   Despite the many unknowns and the anxiety over what might happen, for most of us it will turn out OK and maybe even produce a more caring and flexible society.
Best wishes to you all,
Robert & Barbara


Robert Buchanan & Barbara Keen 
52 George St, PORT CHALMERS 9023, New Zealand
ph 643 472 7856, freephone (NZ) 0800 147 856