Corona Virus has affected us all. Outdoor Professionals have been left unable to work for the duration and I for one am really keen on getting back to it! It is, however, vitally important we all go about it the right way. With information from my professional body (AMI), I have put together a summary of how we are now running courses despite the ongoing Corona Virus situation. This includes the steps I’ll be putting in place to ensure your safety, and the safety of the general public, so we can all get back to having adventures outdoors!

We have received the "We're Good To Go" award from Visit Britain to show that we are adhering to Government and public health guidance.


Our ability to provide outdoor activities relies upon:

  1. The ability to undertake our work safely with social distancing measures in place where necessary
  2. The freedom for our clients to travel to the area
  3. The local community, keeping it safe and not increasing undue risk to anyone

Outdoor Matters will base its activities on the following principals:

Safe

 Course provision will be informed and guided by a public health assessment of risk. (Government advice through PHE, HPS etc.)

Lawful

We will adhere to government guidance and legal restrictions.

Evidence-based

We will use the best available activity-specific evidence and analysis to guide our decision making.

Socially responsible

We recognise that there must be a balance between economic growth and the welfare of local communities, society and the environment. Candidates, providers and their staff are ac-countable for fulfilling their civic duty; the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society.

 We will ensure we meet the requirements of our Insurers and follow advice from our Professional Association: The Association of Mountaineering Instructors.

We can work safely with social distancing applied appropriately. There are some activities that I provide that are more suitable than others. It is believed that outdoor activities have much less chance of passing on the virus than many others, however, it is impossible to eliminate all risk – the following will be used to help mitigate some of it:

Corona Virus Control

1. My standard pre-course health questionnaire has been updated to include COVID-19 symptoms. If anyone has had symptoms, or been in contact with someone with symptoms within the last 21 days they cannot take part in the activity.

2. Where reasonably possible we will maintain social distancing measures. I will only operate with small groups and select quiet venues to help avoid other people.

3. We will meet outdoors and limit any necessary indoor time – everyone is asked to arrive having washed their hands thoroughly. It is recommended that participants clean their hands periodically throughout the day, especially before eating.

4. Participants will need to bring their own: food, drink, hand sanitizer, sun cream, small first aid kit and face masks, should you feel more comfortable using them.

5. I will have a face covering for myself and spares, they won’t be worn as standard but available if closer contact is necessary.

6. I will carry a first aid kit with appropriate PPE. In the unlikely event of CPR being require, only chest compression will be given, in line with MREW guidelines. 

7. Clients must be aware that in the event of an accident, self-evacuation may be necessary due to limited rescue services, and play an active role in the risk assessment and risk mitigation process. Closer contact will of course be necessary and unavoidable in these situations.

8. Clients need to take ownership of any personal medical conditions.

9.We will restrict numbers in cars (unless household members) to a minimum to help with social distancing. We generally meet at the venue to mitigate car share where practically possible.

10.I will ensure that all my clothing and equipment used on the day has been cleaned and/or quarantined and stored appropriately since its last use.

11.Where equipment is loaned it will be issued at the beginning of the day and remain in the client’s possession until the end where it will be quarantined until it can clean it appropriately.

12. I will operate comfortably within both my own and the clients abilities/fitness levels, stacking the odds in our favour.

14. Clients are encouraged to voice their concerns and ask any questions that will put their minds at ease given this unprecedented situation.

15. If within 14 days of when the course finishes, either the clients or the I develop symptoms of Covid-19, or are confirmed to have the virus, contact must be made to make the other party aware.

Risk Mitigation

As professional instructors we are very good at assessing and managing risk in the mountains and crags. It forms the basis of our experience and our qualifications. We are able to add value to peoples experience in the outdoors by providing them with skills that allow them to stay safe and appreciate the environment that they are in. This has never been more important than in the current situation. I will ensure clients are fully involved with the risk assessment process and able to voice their concerns at any point. Mountain Rescue/Coastguard in the UK is provided by volunteers who have remained on call throughout the period, we do not want to put them under any extra pressure.

The physical and mental benefit of outdoor activities are clear to us, from a personal and professional point of view, and so we feel it is massively important to get back out there and have some adventures! We’d love you to be involved.

Starting Activities

We will resume courses when we can meet the 4 points listed at the start of this post, and the guidelines of the Government, the BMC and my Professional Body allow and they align with our moral obligations. I will the continue to provide activities so long as those points continue to be met.

Despite the Corona Virus, I hope to be able to offer outdoor climbing adventures soon. If you have any questions or would like to enquire about a course, I’d love to hear from you!