COVID-19 Safety Plan for National Parks
- Describe social distancing measures you will implement during your tours to minimize the risk of transmission in indoor areas, outdoor areas, and during transportation of clients.
Extra vehicles will be made available on select tours (determined on a case-by-case basis). While in public spaces/outdoors, we will be asking guests to maintain a distance of 6 feet from those outside their family unit while on trails, giving interpretation, eating lunch, waiting in line, etc.
- Describe how you will ensure CDC handwashing and sanitization measures are followed.
We’ve stockpiled soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, disinfectant wipes, hand wipes, etc. for our guide teams operating in the parks this summer. We will have handwashing stations set up at picnic lunches w/ biodegradable soap. For breakfasts/ dinners we will require handwashing in restroom before eating. Hand sanitizer will be available at all times w/ refills available. Individual hand sanitizers will be given to guests upon arrival to carry with them and use throughout the trip.
- Describe how and how often you will sanitize equipment and vehicles used to transport employees and clients.
Vehicles will be deep cleaned every night (disinfectant wipes used on all high touch surfaces, disinfectant spray on seats, glass cleaner on windows, etc.). High touch surfaces in vehicles will be disinfected every time guests get out of the van for a meal or activity.
- Describe how you will handle the sanitization of shared equipment.
Guests will constantly be asked to use hand sanitizer before/after handling of any equipment. Equipment like scopes/binoculars will be sanitized w/ a disinfectant wipe between uses. Equipment like the chairs we use for lunch will be sprayed with disinfectant before they’re put away in the trailer.
- Describe how you will handle/sanitize equipment belonging to clients.
Luggage will be sprayed or wiped down with disinfectant before being put it in the trailer for the first time after collecting guests on day 1. Guests will be instructed to claim a spot in the vehicle with their family unit and stay there for the week and to keep their gear/personal belongings with them at all times (backpack, extra clothes, etc.)
- Will you provide food or drinks to clients on tours? If so, describe how you will handle food and drinks to minimize exposure and transmission.
During picnic lunches, our guides will set up handwashing stations for guests and guide use with biodegradable soap. Hand sanitizer will also be available. Guides will either create “to-go” style picnic lunches in takeaway brown bags or will create a picnic spread in which the guides handle the serving utensils and put food on plates for guests. Guides will wear gloves throughout lunch prep and serve. Dishes will be washed in the evenings after guest drop-off using the three-tub system: hot water and biodegradable soap in tub 1, hot water rinse in tub 2, cold water + a few drops of bleach in tub 3, air dry. Guests will be given their own refillable water bottles as is our normal practice. Guides will fill up guest water bottles using a water jug in our trailer, being sure to sanitize appropriately during the refill process.
- Describe actions you will take in your interactions with clients and visitors to minimize exposure.
We have already sent out pre-trip communications via email to all guests currently booked on national park tours to give advice for traveling during times of COVID-19. This communication is re-sent out 2 weeks prior to the guests’ arrival in the national park. This includes a heads up that there unfortunately won’t be any more hugs or high fives, we’ll be practicing physical distancing as much as is practical, we’ll have additional vehicles as required on trips, we’ll be implementing additional sanitizing/disinfecting measures, and we’ll be taking extra precautions around mealtimes. All guests will be required to fill out a “COVID-19 Questionnaire” upon arrival. We’ve advised all guests to bring face masks and to wear them while traveling to/from the national parks and to wear them in public areas in the national parks themselves. We’ve also stated that we reserve the right to refuse services to anyone we observe is ill upon arrival or becomes ill on the trip (although we will help them evacuate as necessary). We will continue to communicate our operating plans to guests by email/phone as we approach trip dates and our guides will be trained in protocol and talking points as well.
- Describe how you will evaluate employees and visitors to determine if they may be ill. Please describe the actions you will take if an employee or visitor is ill.
All guides will have literature from the CDC that they can reference for COVID-19 symptoms and training from our office staff on what to do if a guest or a guide gets sick. If someone shows symptoms on tour, we’ll immediately separate that person from the rest of the group and implement evacuation procedures to get them out of the park. An evacuation would bring the affected person to the nearest hospital for testing/help.
- Please list any additional actions your company and employees will take to minimize the transmission of the virus.
We are staying in close communication with the guests we have booked for national park trips this summer both by phone and email. We’re practicing our ABC’s: Anticipate, Be Honest, Communicate, to the best of our abilities and our guests/guides have really appreciated our straightforward approach. We will not be bringing as many guests to the national parks as we would in a normal year, but the remaining adventure seekers we do have will know and understand our expectations, rules, and procedures before they even step foot into an airport to make their way to a national park. We’ll be taking as many precautions as we possibly can to give people a fantastic experience while implementing additional safety measures to reduce the risk of getting sick while traveling.