Sports Basement Outdoors COVID Safety Measures

Sports Basement understands that traveling and participating in group outdoor activities might be a bit scary. We had our 1st Yosemite backpacking trip this past weekend with COVID-19 precautions. It's obviously not business as usual, but with a few adjustments, there isn't much better than a wilderness escape. A list of outdoor trip precautions are listed below.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Ensure hand sanitizing solution is readily available and used frequently. Participants are encouraged to bring their own and a small, travel sized bottle will be provided to every client.

  • Social Distancing: Whenever possible 6 foot social distancing is still recommended.  This can create some challenges with parties traveling through tight spaces. Guides will dictate options in these situations. When in doubt, masks on!

  • Face coverings: A face covering (mask, buff, bandana) is required as it can limit the spread of droplets.  When social distancing is unavoidable for safety reasons, guides and participants must  have a face covering. If clients arrive without face coverings, one will be provided. Social distancing and face coverings are particularly important during the trip as increased exertion may increase the aerosolization of viral particles. 

  • Tent sharing:  Only those who are members of the same household should share tents.  This distinction is important - a household is those that live together - not just members of the same family.  Questions will be raised about those who travel together. If they have been together for 14 days - a quarantine period - they could be considered household.  If they have not been together for that length of time - they could be tent-mates given they have already been exposed to each other, but must continue social distancing with the rest of the group. 

  • Water management: For backpacking trips, standard water purification strategies should be employed.  If using a shared water source for distributing water, steps should be taken so there is no physical contact between individual bottles and the source. 

  • Waivers: In addition to the standard risk liability waiver, an additional COVID-19 waiver will be required for all participants, accepting the inherent risks of backcountry activities (lack of immediate medical services and sanitation) and the potential that rescue operations could be delayed or impossible, given the current regional situation.This will be provided upon arrival.

  • Enhanced screening: 

    • All clients will receive an additional digital COVID-19 Questionnaire 2-3 weeks prior to the trip. Clients should not be on a trip if they have come in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days or if they develop any fever or flu-like symptoms during the 14 days prior to the trip. The questionnaire will be resent during the week prior to the trip to ensure there have been no changes.

    • As testing becomes more available, we encourage clients to be tested at least a week prior to the trip, then to quarantine post test and limit exposure as much as possible. during travel to the trip start.

    • Upon arrival at the starting location, all clients will be re-asked questionnaire questions and have their temperature checked with a digital thermometer. Clients with a temperature of over 100.5 degrees of higher will not be allowed to participate in the trip. Clients can transfer to another date or receive a partial refund (minus 20%).

  • Training: As some strenuous portions of the trip may require wearing a face mask, we recommend clients do as much training as possible with a mask, to acclimate your lungs to a reduced oxygen intake. Additionally, for backpacking trips, with the reduction in shared gear options, and an increase in sanitation items, we recommend increasing the weight of your training pack to prepare for the potential of a heavier pack on the trip. With quarantine issues related to being active and getting on trails, we are also encouraging participants to find any method of physical and endurance training possible, to ensure they can safely and enjoyably complete the trip. 

  • Transportation: Due to risk of contamination, clients should refrain from carpooling with other trip participants.They should avoid utilizing public transportation to arrive at the trip start location, whenever possible. 

  • Group gear: Gear will need to be closely monitored, only utilized by guides, and cleaned as thoroughly as possible between uses.  Sufficient diluted bleach and sanitizing wipes will be available for all trips to clean group gear. 

  • Meal services: For backpacking trips, breakfast and dinners meals will proceed as planned, however, lunch meals, which require a significant amount of shared containers and utensils, will NOT be provided. Clients will need to provide their own, individually portioned lunches and snacks. For meal service, only one guide will handle the utensils and dishing out meals. Sharing of any meals or snacks outside your family group is prohibited. For other trips, pre-packaged lunch options will be available. 

  • First Aid: Whenever possible, clients should self care for minor injuries like scrapes, abrasions and blisters. Participants should supply their own common supplies like bandaids, athletic tape, ibuprofen, etc. In the absence of participant first aid items, multiple guide first aid kits will be available as a resource. Individual guides will have sole access to their first aid kits and either use gloves or hand sanitizer before handling any supplies provided to clients.

    • In the event that first aid must be administered by a guide, both client and guide will wear protective face masks and the guide will wear sterilized gloves. 

    • In the event of life threatening injuries, guides will immediately prioritize injuries and evacuation procedures, while taking as many COVID precautions as possible. 

  • COVID action plan: If a client (or guide) demonstrates fever or flu-like illness concerning for COVID-19, they will be immediately (but safely) isolated from the other participants. A separate tent, evacuation plan, etc.  If it is a client and they require evacuation, a guide will need to be assigned to them to evacuate from the trip. This guide will not interact with other members of the group.  Upon visiting a healthcare center, appropriate COVID testing is recommended for the person in question and, if positive, the guide will need appropriate testing in addition to entering quarantine before returning to work. 

    • Regional Healthcare. Clients should be aware of regional healthcare infrastructure and accessibility, or lack thereof, in the vicinity of Yosemite National Park (YNP). Sports Basement will defer to YNP’s operating and evacuation procedures for individuals that develop COVID symptoms after arrival in YNP (will defer to ranger recommendations). All trips equipped with Satellite radio text communication.

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