Covid procedures for events with shared residential accommodation
- All trip participants must take a Lateral Flow Tests 3 days before and then on day of travel and then minimise social contact while travelling to the event. This effectively creates a Club bubble.
- Members to read and note the Club guidance (below) about possible exposure. This will be sent to members booked on meets by the Club Covid officer. If you have ANY of the symptoms listed on the form, do not go on the trip.
- Car sharing for longer journeys from Edinburgh or elsewhere to be in line with current government advice (keep car windows open and wear masks). There are significant risks involved in car sharing over a period of two or three hours.
- Members travelling by public transport to observe the law and wear a mask during their journey.
- Care to be taken when collecting members from train or bus stations to drive them to the weekend accommodation. Keep car windows open and wear masks, even for short journeys. Respect anyone who may not want to take such passengers.
- Meet Organiser to note the venue’s policy on surface cleaning. Some venues require cleaning on arrival (and departure). Self-catering properties may do this themselves.
- Consider the risks involved in the use of food preparation space. Have as few people as possible in the kitchen to heat or prepare the evening meal. The use of prepared meals is recommended. Masks might be worn.
- Careful use of kitchen implements/tools. Use and then put in dishwasher or wash thoroughly in hot water.
- Take especial care when preparing individual breakfasts and lunches – wash hands, and handle food and utensils minimally – don’t leave knives etc. laying around for the next person to use.
- Take plenty of tea towels and use them minimally/when essential.
- Toilets and washing-members should use the same allocated toilet, wash basin and shower. Masks may be removed for showers and teeth brushing!!
- Open windows and ventilate spaces regularly. Three minutes every hour is the Government guideline.
- Care to be taken in travelling to the starting points for weekend activities. Keep car windows open and wear masks, even such short journeys. Respect anyone who may not want to take such passengers.
- Meets Organiser and Club Covid Officer to arrange a pre-trip Zoom meeting with all participants to discuss procedures for the meet.
If you are joining an ESTC trip please read the following statements carefully:
• I do not currently have symptoms of COVID-19.
These include: new persistent dry cough, fever, loss of/change in taste or smell, and ALSO: fever or chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea. Basically any cold or flu symptoms. (It has been suggested (on the ZOE symptom app) that, in vaccinated people, headache, sore throat and sneezing may be the most obvious symptoms). The latest variant causes body (muscular) aches
• I have not had a positive test for COVID-19 or onset of symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days. (Individuals who have completed their period of isolation (10 days) and have no remaining symptoms (other than a dry cough or loss of taste or smell which can last for some time) may return to normal activities)
• No member of my household has had onset of symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days
• I have not been a contact of someone with confirmed Covid-19 during the 10 days before the trip starts. (If you are a contact you will have been contacted by Test and Protect or pinged by the app). NB this applies even if you have been doubly vaccinated.
• If, while on the trip, I am informed I have been a contact of someone who has tested positive, I will go home
• I have not returned from a country outside of the UK in the last 10 days, other than those on the exempt list.
I agree with the above statements:
COVID-19 Policy for ESTC Winter meets.
Please note below that the words “shall”, “should” and “could” have specific meaning:
“Shall” means critical and necessary. The action must be done.
“Should” means important but not necessary.
“Could” means desirable but not necessary.
- The Club shall appoint a COVID-19 officer.
- Prior to opening of booking a documented risk assessment and appropriate mitigations shall be put in place for each meet. As part of this the Club shall review accommodation compliance with Government regulation, Mountaineering Scotland guidance, British Mountaineering Council hut guidance (if applicable) and house rules set by the accommodation provider.
- The risk assessments shall be updated in the event changes in regulations and guidance leading up to the meet.
- The Club’s COVID-19 policy, protocols and risk assessment shall be communicated to all attendees. Attendees shall be reminded that that there is no such thing as zero risk. Attendees should be encouraged to take individual responsibility for their own safety. There is a wide range of circumstances, and hence risk appetite, amongst our Members. If a Member is not comfortable with the arrangements for the meet then they should not attend. Note that the Club may not be able to accommodate Members whose needs go beyond current guidance – for example: limiting a meet to one household for those that are shielding.
- The maximum number of places on each meet will be set immediately prior to opening bookings for the winter meets. Since we cannot predict the trajectory of the COVID-19 virus and consequential regulations, this maximum will nominally be the capacity of the accommodation as specified by the accommodation owner. At the discretion of the Committee this may be reduced for some accommodations – e.g. those with alpine style sleeping platforms.
- The pricing of a meet will be based on the Club breaking even on full. “Full” here means the maximum capacity of the accommodation or the reduced capacity if so decided by the Committee as above. This, in essence, is current meet policy – to break-even on full.
- After booking opens, and before the meet week-end, the meet may be cancelled completely. This might be because the accommodation owner cancels the booking or that the Club cancels because it is not practical to run the meet within current regulations and guidelines. As much notice as possible will be given to attendees, but note that Government regulations and guidance usually change on a Thursday so less than 24 hours notice may be unavoidable.
- Where a meet is cancelled by the accommodation owner or by the Club, all people booked on the meet shall be offered a full refund. The Club should negotiate with the accommodation owner for a refund or a credit for a future booking. The outcome of this negotiation will not impact the refund to attendees.
- After booking opens, and before the meet week-end, the maximum number of places on the meet may be reduced. This might be because the accommodation owner changes the accommodation capacity or changing regulations impact the number that can attend.
- Where the number of people on a meet needs to be reduced (or further reduced), any bookings above the new maximum will be cancelled on a last-in, first-out basis. All impacted members shall be offered a full refund. There will be no increase in cost of the meet for remaining members – the Club will absorb the short-fall. The Club should seek a partial refund (or credit towards a future booking) from the accommodation owner for the reduced numbers. The outcome of this will not impact the refund to cancelled attendees.
- When a meet is cancelled, or the number of attendees reduced, the impacted attendees may book onto another meet if there remains space. The date of the original booking shall be taken across to the new meet. This will be used in prioritisation should the new meet also have its numbers reduced.
- Where a meet is cancelled, or the number of attendees reduced, the Club shall not be liable for any communal food that has already been purchased by attendees and is now surplus to requirements. It is suggested that surplus food is either shared out among attendees, or put in the freezer for subsequent consumption by the purchaser.
- As in previous years, all bookings will be on a first come, first served basis with payment securing the place.
- An unpaid booking may be removed without notice to accommodate a paid booking.
- If an attendee cancels after payment then previous years’ policy applies. The attendee shall be offered a refund only if their place is filled by another paying attendee and the meet is full and all places on the meet are paid for. This applies even if the attendee’s cancellation is due to COVID-19 or self-isolation. Note: this is consistent with the existing policy of no refund in the case of illness or injury, unless the place is filled by another paying attendee and the meeting is full.
- Attendees at a meet shall bring their own:
- Personal face coverings (including spares) and hand sanitiser.
- Basic first aid kit, including protective gloves and eye protection such a goggles.
- Attendees at a meet shall observe all COVID-19 precautions put in place by the accommodation owner, particularly in the case of shared facilities. Potential restrictions might be:
- Attendees to provide their own bed coverings.
- Restrictions on access to the kitchen.
- Communal meals to be prepared by as few people as possible.
- Limits on use of shared shower facilities – showers being a prime source of virus spreading aerosols. (No showers could help with social distancing!).
- Additional people joining for a day on the hill may be excluded from access to the hut.
- Camping outside the booked accommodation is only allowed at venues (like Mill Cottage) who state it is allowed.
- The use of motorhomes or campervans for sleeping outside the booked accommodation is only allowed if the venue agrees and the vehicle owner pays for a full fee hut place.
- Attendees required to do extra ‘deep’ cleaning, as specified by the accommodation owner, prior to departure.
- In addition to the accommodation’s specific regulations, the Club will issue a set of Procedures for Meets that will be updated in line with changing circumstances, regulation and guidance.
- Car sharing is not recommended. Members must comply with regulations and recommendations at the time of the meet. This is likely to prohibit car sharing unless the parties already form a “social bubble”. (Current regulations permit car sharing only in exceptional, indeed emergency, circumstances and only if the people all wear face coverings and travel with the car windows open. Windows open is probably not practical in the winter!).
- A person shall NOT attend a meet if they, or someone they live with, has any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, are waiting for the result of a test or are self-isolating.
- If an attendee falls ill with COVID-19 like symptoms during the meet then they shall return home immediately and book a COVID-19 PCR test. The use of public transport is not advised. Special taxis may be arranged at a cost of circa £300 from Aviemore to Edinburgh.
- The remaining meet members should consider abandoning the event and returning home. NHS Test & Protect should contact all attendees within a couple of days in the case of a positive test from the person who fell ill.
- If an attendee on a meet tests positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of attending a meet then:
- The attendee shall inform Scottish Government Test & Protect with details of the meet attendance.
- The attendee should provide Test & Protect with the contact details of the others on the same meet.
- The attendee shall, if requested, provide Test & Protect with the contact details of the Club COVID-19 officer.
- The attendee should inform the Club COVID-19 officer.
- The Club shall provide the contact details of all attendees on the meet to Test & Protect if so requested by Test & Protect. (This should only be done in response to a request).
- The Club shall inform the accommodation owner of the positive COVID-19 test by an attendee on the meet.
- The Club shall NOT inform the accommodation owner of the names of the people on the meet, unless is a precondition of the booking. In any event, the Club shall NOT inform the accommodation owner of the name of the person who initially tested positive; this would be breech of GDPR. Similarly, the Club shall NOT inform the accommodation owner of any subsequent testing – who was tested and outcome, and who was not tested.
- The Club shall NOT inform the others on the meet of the positive test on the meet. This is also a GDPR requirement – it is Test & Protect’s job to contact people as appropriate.
- Club Members should be cautioned against passing on details of the positive test – again, it is Test and Protect’s job to contact people. However the Club shall NOT be liable for any gossip among members.
- Before each Club event organised under public regulations, an email (or a physical letter) shall be issued to all members wishing to participate. Members must reply, acknowledging receipt of the email/letter and agreeing their acceptance of the guidance contained within it. The reply shall include Covid contact number/details for the individual.
- The Club should encourage members to download the Protect Scotland app which, designed to help us protect each other, reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns. This is Mountaineering Scotland guidance . An accurate record of all attendees (including those who joined the meet but are not staying in the booked accommodation, if any) will be retained for at least 21 days in line with Scottish Government Test & Protect guidance.
- An accurate record of all attendees (including those who joined the meet but are not staying in the booked accommodation, if any) will be retained for at least 21 days in line with Scottish Government Test & Protect guidance.