Updated: Jan 25
Firstly we want to thank all of our guests who were lucky enough to plan their holidays before the world feel apart due to the pandemic. Thanks to you all, we are nothing without those of you who are brave enough to join us :D
How was 2020 in Riga?
This year in Riga during what is for some the strangest year ever, things have been bumpy to say the least. The year got off to a great start with things seeming to go as usual. Our team took a study trip in February to Prague to do some market research and to catch up with some other guides and see how a major city like Prague runs things. Between great food, good beer and the tours we joined, we learned a lot and were eager to come back to Riga and implement some of our new ideas. There was talk about Covid but boy did we not have any idea of the effects that the virus would have on the tourism industry!
Riga went in to a loose lockdown in mid March, with a halt to international travel taking place. Case numbers were very low in Latvia and life, without the masses of tourism carried on. Soon a Baltic bubble was opened between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, that allowed for our local neighbours to easily visit each other. Before long transport was permitted from other nations but with isolation requirements in place.
The Riga Free tours team managed where possible to provide our services within the framework of the restrictions and although we gave it our best shot, without tourism as usual we sadly had to close our operations towards the end of the summer season.
Covid case numbers in Latvia continued to rise
It seemed that things in Latvia throughout the summer had been peaceful and cases were still relatively low but as the kids went back to school and people retuned from summer vacations in the country houses, we were unprepared for the sharp rise in new cases.
During September some major changes took place and the virus began to spread freely among the population. By December as I am writing this we have a state of emergency. With many facilities closed, heavy restrictions in place and masks being required in many spaces. Even from 30th December a 10pm - 5am curfew will be in place to prevent celebration of New Years Eve.
The month of December really saw the divide in the nation, with those who oppose restrictions, those who do not believe in Covid, those who feel masks are against their civil liberties and those who are backing and supporting the measures in place. A number of small scale demonstrations have taken place with the last scheduled one being forbidden from going ahead.
Times are changing, we hope that the New year will bring positive news and we hope to be able to invite you all back here in Riga to join us as soon as possible.
In the mean time here is a picture of a cat. George the cat has enjoyed 2020 as he has more humans around the home and despite his look of absolute not giving a damn, he is we feel the happiest of all of us.