COVID-19 Enhanced Safety Protocols
COVID-19 is now an inherent risk in all aspects of life, including travel. Getting back to the activities that are important to us, even just going to the grocery store, entails mitigating that risk. Fortunately, there are clear and tested actions we can take to enhance our own and others' safety.
Maintaining high levels of health, sanitation, and following the carefully developed protocols on our adventures is of the utmost importance and will require everyone’s participation.
Behind the scenes, our approach is focused on six priorities: Screen, Prevent, Train, Monitor, Adjust and Support. Much of our work in these areas will be invisible to you, as it happens long before you arrive at your destination. We are screening and training our staff, monitoring developing science and regulations, adjusting our itineraries to avoid crowds and peak times, reducing group sizes and increasing space in our vehicles, and supporting hotels, restaurants and our other suppliers to achieve the highest health standards in the industry.
What will be more obvious to you are the measures that will be in place during your trip, and this is where we need your help and active participation. We are implementing a Combination Intervention Approach, which entails action on the part of guides and guests alike in four areas: respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene, physical distancing and enhanced sanitation. Protocols required for all guests and staff include:
• Face coverings
• Hand washing and sanitizing
• 6 feet of physical distancing
Read more below about our specific protocols in each of these areas.
In addition to these protocols, a negative COVID-19 test may be required prior to arrival in some locations. For all other locations, guests are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 within seven days of traveling, and are required to complete a Health Questionnaire prior to departure and to participate in daily symptom checks during the trip.
In the event a guest or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19 on your trip, Nat Hab field staff will consult with licensed physicians for medical advice and directions on next steps. Our staff will follow this advice, along with all protocols in this document, in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure to other guests and staff. This may include separating the individual experiencing symptoms from the rest of the group.
We thank you, in advance, for supporting these efforts.
- Guests and staff will be required to wear a face covering while in a vehicle or indoors in the presence of others, and at all other times during the trip when physical distancing is not possible.
- Staff will be required to wear face coverings when preparing or serving food.
- Windows in vehicles will be opened as often as possible to increase ventilation.
- Expedition Leaders will use the speaker system in vehicles, which will decrease the risk of virus spread through droplets created when projecting loudly.
- We will send each guest a personal container of hand sanitizer before the trip. Hand sanitizer will also be available throughout the trip.
- Guests and staff will be required to wash hands with soap and water prior to meals in restaurants and to use hand sanitizer for meals in the field and upon entry and exit of vehicles.
- Staff will receive enhanced training on CDC and WHO safety guidelines in addition to food-handling safety.
- Whenever possible, we will avoid self-serve food and drink options, as well as shared utensils and dishes.
- Guests and staff will be instructed to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others throughout the trip, when possible, with the exception of family units or friends traveling together. If distancing is not possible, face coverings will be required.
- Guests will be encouraged to spread out within vehicles as much as possible.
- Physical distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained whenever possible during meals. Outdoor seating will be requested, when available. Indoor dining options should be in compliance with local governmental regulations.
- Expedition Leaders will choose locations for field meals with enough space for physical distancing, either outdoors or in a space with good ventilation.
- Expedition Leaders may alter the itinerary at any time if a location is too crowded and physical distancing is not possible.
- Vehicles will be deep-cleaned once a day.
- Commonly touched surfaces in vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected after each activity (including meals, if transportation is required).
- Guests will receive sanitizing wipes before the trip to use for wiping down any personal items, if they wish to.
- Staff will be required to wear disposable gloves while preparing or serving food.
- Nat Hab equipment will be sanitized before and after each use.
- Staff will wear gloves when handling communal equipment (scopes, kayak paddles, trekking poles, etc.).
- Items such as seat covers, tablecloths and linen napkins will be removed from use, or appropriately washed, cleaned and sanitized between uses.