Health & safety has always been our top priority. Which is why we’ve spent the better part of the past few months quietly expanding and improving our internal policies and practices. Today, we’d like to share some of those improvements with you, as well as make one clear promise: we will do everything within reasonable ability to run our tours at the highest standards of health & safety, protecting not just yourself, but also our staff and the communities we visit.
About our practices and policies
While building the following practices and policies, our team agreed it was important to work from the perspective there may not be a vaccine for Covid-19 before we begin running tours again. We decided to work from a worst-case-scenario point-of-view and if/when a vaccine is available, we will happily pivot as necessary. Vaccine or not, many of our new practices and policies will be permanent.
Further, our policies closely follow guidelines developed by international partners, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To keep things organized, we’ve arranged our practices and policies into three sections: Before, During and After your tour.
Before your tour
Before touching down in a destination, a slew of health & safety initiatives will have already taken place. Some initiatives will be ‘behind the scenes’, for example our new tour planning policies that ensure we’ve dotted our Is and crossed our Ts. Other initiatives will be more obvious, including new education practices and mandatory health screenings. Here are just a few of the changes you can expect before your tour.
- Renegotiated supplier contracts to ensure minimum health & safety standards are met.
- Systematically scrutinizing our existing day-by-day itineraries, keeping an eye out for activities that could be safer. For example, visiting crowded heritage sites during low-traffic hours.
- Training all hands-on staff, including Hosts and Guides. Training will include:
- Sanitation measures and standards,
- Understanding of all PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements,
- Understanding of all contingency plans for various health and safety scenarios, including the location of all specialized medical facilities in a destination.
- Educating fellow guests via updated Trip Documents that include:
- An informative new section on health & safety,
- Updated packing lists with enhanced health & safety items,
- Recommendations for minimizing transmission of viruses in airports and on aircrafts,
- Known health issues in the country or destination highlighted in documents.
Mandatory health screenings
- An electronic health self-assessment will be sent to guests and hands-on staff four days prior to departure. The questionnaire may include:
- Checklist to identify staff or guests who may be experiencing symptoms related to Covid-19, or any other known outbreak,
- Proof of immunity, vaccine, or any additional requirements for entry by a destination,
- Options for last-minute booking adjustments and cancellations if the guest is experiencing symptoms of a known outbreak. Note: To access last-minute booking adjustments, proof of illness in the form of a doctor’s note and affidavit will be required.
- Monitoring the health of all guests and hands-on employees during the tour. If any Covid-19 symptoms are identified in staff, a suitable replacement will be found until testing can be administered and verified. Monitoring may include:
- Regular temperature checks administered primarily by accommodation providers,
- Mid-tour electronic evaluation and health questionnaire.
During your tour
From your tour’s Welcome Meeting to its Farewell Dinner, you can expect our staff and suppliers to hold themselves to the highest standards of health & safety. On the ground we have two primary focuses: reduce transmissions and enhance sanitation. Here are some of the key initiatives you’ll notice our team taking on tour.
Reduce Transmission by:
- Encouraging physical distancing where possible:
- Maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between all guests and staff whenever possible,
- The suggested use of PPE where a safe distance may not be maintained,
- Discourage physical contact such as handshaking and hugging,
- Dedicating a minimum of 30% of seats in private transportation to be empty to allow more space between guests,
- When possible avoiding large crowds, visiting sites during low-traffic periods.
- Providing alcohol-based hand sanitizer for use in public areas, before and after group meals, and before entering transportation,
- Having face masks on hand should a group member show symptoms of illness,
- Requiring suppliers to sanitize:
- Hotel rooms before check in,
- Vehicles regularly,
- Tables and chairs before included meals.
- Wherever possible removing buffets and family-style meals,
- Immediately addressing and escalating any concerns regarding hygiene or sanitation,
- Working with suppliers and hotels to minimize paperwork for check-ins and activities, and promoting use of contactless technology such as personal mobile devices. Where such technology can’t be used, ensure proper sanitation of room keys at time of check in.
After your tour
Just because we’ve said our goodbyes and our tour has officially wrapped, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped looking out for you. We’ll be keeping an ear to the ground, listening for any transmissions that may have occurred during your tour. And if something comes up, you’ll be the first to know.
Although we’re taking every precaution to minimize health & safety risks, we realize issues may arise. This is why we’re creating internal documents outlining contingency plans for foreseeable world events including—but not limited to—Covid-19. It is our goal that guests such as yourself will rest easy knowing we take your health & safety to heart.
Until it is safe to travel again
Should you have any questions about our health & safety practices and policies, never hesitate to reach out. Together we can ensure that our journeys are safe for everyone, including yourself, our staff and the local communities that welcome us into their cultures and homes.
Until it is safe to travel again, and as we always say at Out Adventures, ‘Never lose your sense of adventure.’
PLEASE NOTE: The above guidelines are a work in progress. Finalized procedures will be outlined in an official update to the Out Adventures Health and Safety Guidelines to be released in the coming months.
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