COVID-19 Pandemic Protocols – as of 6 July 2020

The Outdoor Club held a planning meeting today and decided to resume outings under the provision of the following protocols.  These may be amended over time.  While many feel we have an elevated risk now with increased travel, we hope we can find the balance between staying safe and exercising and socializing outside. In general the Club members are vulnerable due to age, and many have other specific vulnerabilities. There is a wide range of sensitivities to the present risk. We recommend that everyone on a Club outing bring a mask, hand sanitizer and gloves.

Size of the group: In order to accommodate more hikers, we will try to break the group into pods of 2 to 4 people. The pods will start the hike about five minutes apart. This will be done on hikes where the risk of the group becoming separated is very low. On more complex routes, the group will either move as a distanced unit or use family radios to stay connected. Trip coordinators have discretion about the total number of participants on a trip.

Physical distancing: We may want to avoid busier trails, trailheads and times. Advance planning will include recognizing the width of the trail so that distance can be maintained with oncoming hikers, and wide places to stop for breaks or lunch as a group. We will stay two metres apart when stopped. Depending on individual comfort levels, more space may be requested when moving.

Talking can become problematic when the distance is considerable between hikers. We don’t want to bunch up in order to hear more clearly. While socializing is an important component of our activities, it may be preferable to converse at the beginning, at breaks or at lunch, and at the end of the outing, rather than while moving.

Sharing: Sharing of gear without disinfecting is not encouraged. Many people are not comfortable sharing food, so please do not assume that offers of shared food are welcome and don’t take offence, because it’s not personal.

Touching common surfaces: While it’s not the most common method of infection, hikers will want to give some thought to the rocks or trees they hold onto for balance and whether the hikers in front of them have also used those hand holds. You may wish to use hand sanitizer.

Who can participate: For now the Club will not include visitors on trips. Members who are locals or those who have been on the island for al least 14 days may join a trip. We encourage our members to be friendly to everyone they meet on the trail.

Car pooling: Car pooling is discouraged outside of family or bubble members. If it is necessary, the occupants would be encouraged to wear masks and sanitize surfaces and hands.

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