COVID 19 and Rafting in 2021
We are all anxious to get back on the river soon, and are excited to begin our 2021 rafting season. This year we are updating our policies and procedures on the river when it comes to sanitation and cleanliness. We have started with a good cleaning and sanitizing of our boats, equipment and facilities. We have installed hand sanitizer dispensers in and around our operation, and we encourage our guests and staff to use them on a regular basis.
All of our guests should understand that some people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID19. According to the CDC, “The risk of severe disease increases steadily as people age. Additionally, those of all ages with underlying medical conditions appear to be at higher risk in developing severe COVID-19 compared to those without these conditions.”1 The National Park Service recommends that people at higher risk should carefully consider their participation in a backcountry trip. Those at higher risk include people with the following conditions:
• Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
• Severely obese
• Diabetes, chronic kidney disease, or undergoing dialysis
• Liver Disease
• Cardiovascular disease
• Other immunocompromised individuals (HIV, undergoing cancer treatment or other underlying medical conditions)
If you have signed up for one of our trips, and you have one of the conditions listed above, please call our office at 800-332-2439 as soon as possible to discuss your trip.
We are doing all that we can to mitigate the risk of contracting COVID19, but we cannot completely remove all potential transmitters. There is still some risk of contracting COVID19, and we will ask all of our guests to sign an additional Assumption of Risk form associated with COVID19.
Approximately 4 days prior to a river trip, our guests will receive a quick survey asking if they have recently experienced any of the known symptoms of COVID19 or if they have been diagnosed with or tested for COVID19 in the past 30 days. They will also be asked if they have been vaccinated. Guests who have not been vaccinated should contact our office to discuss trip options and requirements. Every participant will need to complete this survey in order to participate in the trip. We will also be asking each guest similar questions when they arrive for the river trip departure. We will also be taking the temperature of each guest upon arrival. If anyone has a fever of 100.4° F or higher, they and their immediate party will not be allowed to participate in the river trip. We will be enforcing this to protect all of our guests and our guides and staff.
Until restrictions are lifted, we will only allow 6 people in our store at any one time, and up to 2 people in our small bathroom (typically 1 person, but we understand that mommas or poppas sometimes need to assist their kiddos) at any one time. Purchases in our store may take a little longer as we will be cleaning our counter between each transaction for the safety of our guests and our staff. We ask that anyone entering the store (regardless of vaccination status) wear a mask or face covering (bandana, buff, etc) and that they continue to wear it until they exit the building. Our staff will all wear facemasks or coverings while in the store or other communal areas on our property.
We will ask that our guests carry at least one facemask or face covering, and we recommend that they bring extras so that they don’t have to use previously used ones for the duration of their trip. We suggest that each person have at least one mask/face covering for each day of their trip. (We suggest keeping extra masks in ziplock bags so that they are readily accessible for the duration of the trip.) We also suggest that our guests bring personal hand sanitizer or sanitizer wipes. Facemasks or face coverings must be worn while in the vehicles on the way to or from the river trip.
Out on the river, there will be some changes, too. We will have more hand-wash stations available in camp, and will provide more opportunity for washing/sanitizing hands while on the boats. We will still have a handwash station near the “bathroom” and “kitchen”, and there will be an extra hand-wash station available for use in other high-use areas.
Meals will be served very much like they have in the past, but we will ask all of our guests to wear a face-covering and gloves while collecting their food (buffet style meals) after which they can throw away the gloves and remove their face covering while they eat. If they would like additional servings, guests can don another pair of gloves. We do ask that our guests space themselves appropriately while waiting their turn in the food line. Appetizers and desserts will be served with small disposable plates. We ask that each person, guide or guest, wash their hands prior to using any water cooler or other communal item. We suggest larger (32 oz or more) insulated water bottles. (Kleen Kanteen are AWESOME!!) We also ask that no one lets their water bottle touch the spigot on the coolers. The spigots will be cleaned regularly, but in this case, sharing is not caring.
Each guest will be assigned a PFD, sleeping bag and tent. They should use only the items assigned to them for safety reasons. Each item is labeled for ease of recognition. Tents will be packed according to group/family units when possible. Guests are encouraged to wipe down their paco pads prior to use each day.
In accordance with Health Department and National Park Service guidelines, each participant and staff on our trips will self-monitor for COVID symptoms. Guests or staff who have symptoms or a temperature of over 100.4°F will be quarantined for the remainder of the trip, and may be removed from the trip if feasible. This is for the protection of other guests and our staff.
We understand that some of these practices can add a bit of extra consternation for our guests and staff, but we truly wish to keep everyone as safe as possible. As we receive additional direction from the local health departments, National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management agencies we will update our information and practices. We look forward to a great river season this year and we are excited to share it with our guests.
Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.
Sheri Griffith Expeditions Staff