Dear valued guests, friends, and partners,

We hope and pray that you are safe, sound, and healthy.

At Nepal Sanctuary Treks, we care about the experience of every single guest and our sole purpose, as always, is your health and safety. In light of the impact and changes triggered by the Coronavirus, we want to ensure that our attention centered on the health and safety of all our valued guests and staff members, without compromising the high standards and quality of your trip experience.

Considering the emerging COVID-19 situation, Nepal Sanctuary Treks will be taking standard for safety and hygiene very seriously, along with additional steps to make sure the safety of our guests and employees.

Prior to your trip, we recommend you check your government’s travel advisory and the World Health Organization website for the most current information about destinations and permitted travel from each country.

Nepal Sanctuary Treks COVID-19 Safe Health and Safety Guidelines:

Pre- Arrival Information

  • Request guests to fill out a Booking Form that not only comprises basic emergency details but also physical information such as age, any medical problems, any chronic diseases and travel history for the last 30 days
  • Request guests to enroll in their respective country’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program so they can receive any security or safety updates in case of emergency from their nearest Embassy/Consulate.
  • Clients should have travel medical insurance that includes helicopter evacuation, and the travel medical company would insure that clients would be medevaced out in case of any illness. Ensure that the contact details of the guests are available in case they are needed for contact tracing.
  • Send mandatory health declaration form, hygiene, and social distancing protocols during the tour or trek and to follow safety measures as stated by the Ministry of Health and Population and the World Health Organization.
  • Advise trekkers to take a bunch of toothpicks or cotton swabs along while traveling and uses them to push elevator or ATM buttons. Carefully dispose of them after using them once instead of carrying them for another use.
  • Advise guests to add sanitary kit containing a mask, gloves, and sanitizing gel on their packing list.

Trekking Activities

  • For the first arrival, standard briefings should be made to guests
  • During the trip, daily briefing must emphasize that all measures for guest and staff safety, and cover:
  • Hand sanitizing and hand washing etiquette
  • Respiratory hygiene
  • Physical distancing
  • Proper use of masks (recommended N95 surgical mask)
  • A brief explanation of procedures if someone has a high temperature or COVID-19 symptoms

Access to medical services and pharmacies

  • Day-to-day communication when possible with the office to report and get updates on the overall situation, so the itinerary can be followed and adapted according to the situation.
  • Temperature screening to be carried out on all trekkers and trekking crew during the trek.
  • Monitor staff/ guest health more closely than usual for COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath.
  • The group shall not offer sweets or other things to children or locals while trekking or at camp. Though it’s definitely possible to keep items brought from home virus-free, if there was a virus eruption in a village it might be connected to the trekking group.
  • Group size should be 2-15 people only.
  • The trekking leader must report the health status of group members in all the health posts located in the trekking route, also have health check-ups done. These reports are to be submitted regularly to the office for future contact tracing.
  • The groups shall mandatory Health check-up all the trekkers in Health check posts on the trekking route.
  • Group Health Check records including before and after report should be submitted by the Agency to the Department Of Tourism (DOT).
  • A clearance letter confirming responsible disposal/ return of non-biodegradable garbage has to be obtained from the local government body or authorized entity in the trekking area.

Camping Treks

  • All tents must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between uses.
  • All safety equipment must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • All trekkers will be in a single tent, apart from for couples or people who have traveled to Nepal together.
  • The beds for each trekker must be set up at a distance of two meters from each other and one camp must be set up at a distance of 30 meters from another camp.
  • The dining tent should be well ventilated and large enough to have 1-meter space between trekkers.
  • Consider ways to get into and out of the dining tent without having to use a common zip.
  • Clients must wear masks in a dining tent (they should bring their own).
  • Warm washing water and soap provided outside the dining tent.
  • Avoid using a common towel for drying hands
  • Have separate bowls for clients for snacks so that clients are sharing serving utensils as little as possible.
  • Have guide serve snacks, meals, and tea so clients do not share common plates and utensils
  • Clients and staff inside the tent must leave a tent when they cough or sneeze, or at the very least cough into their elbow or shirt.
  • Toilets should be away from food preparation areas. They should be clean and properly constructed.
  • Clients must wear masks in the dining tent (they should bring their own).
  • Place Hand Sanitizer push top container inside the dining tent and in front of the toilet tent.
  • Make sure all toilet tents are well stocked with hand washing liquid and paper towels.
  • Make sure a full medical kit comprising additional masks, inhalers, disposable gloves, and thermometer.
  • Limited interaction with communities when camping.
  • Make sure the proper management of waste materials at the campsite.
  • The group shall not invite other people into dining, kitchen, or personal tents.

Kitchen Tent, Guide, and Staff Protocols

  • Train kitchen and trekking leader on hygiene safety and health protocol
  • Staff would wear masks all the time at camp or when shopping for local supplies.
  • Disinfect all utensils for use in the dining tent (steam for 10 min).
  • Adequate sanitizer, soap, and water should make available at the kitchen tent.
  • Plenty of clean towels should be kept at the kitchen tent for drying utensils.
  • The safety measures concerning physical distancing should be done when shopping for local supplies. Bring your own reusable shopping bags and rinse when finished shopping.
  • Soak fruits and vegetables for one minute or more in a mixture of two quarts (2L) water with 1-2 droppers of Iodine (or 4-6 drops of Iodine Solution)

Lodge Treks

  • All trekkers shall have single rooms, (wherever applicable) except for couples or groups who have traveled to Nepal together.
  • All groups shall maintain social and physical distancing according to the protocol from other trekking groups, lodge employees and locals.
  • Follow protocol guiding principle for shopping, local interaction like camping treks.
  • The guide shall recommend trekkers buy from local shops where safety guidelines are being followed.
  • Advise trekkers to strictly adhere to health protocols in lodges i.e. hand washing etiquette, respiratory hygiene, physical distancing.
  • The guide shall ensure that the lodge owners and staff are maintaining their property in accordance with set guidelines.
  • The guide shall ensure that the kitchen amenities and rooms in the lodges are hygienic, disinfected, and sterilized.
  • Staff handling luggage should sanitize or wash hands immediately before and after touching luggage

Touring

  • The Tour group shall maintain physical distance from other groups and local communities.
  • In the preliminary stage, lunchboxes shall be used for in-tour meals, and eventually, use a set of restaurants accredited for their hygiene levels and adherence to the restaurant protocol.
  • The Tour leader shall brief the groups on protocols of hygiene and physical distancing.
  • Ensure adequate first Aid kit and has additional masks and sanitizers.
  • Regularly communicate with the Managing Director and General Manager to know ground situations.

Hygiene Etiquette and Physical Distancing

  • Ensure that trekkers have all the necessary things that need to ensure exceptional hygiene.
  • Trekking and tour team and guests must wear facial coverings.
  • In each trip, our trekking crew will carry alcohol wipes and hand sanitizers. However, we suggest guests bringing their own hygiene equipment as well.
  • Regularly use sanitizer when not wearing gloves and avoid passing the sanitizer bottle to another person.
  • Promote good respiratory hygiene etiquette.
  • Wash hand regularly before, during, and after the experience. Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Greet with a wave and joining hand together “Namaste” instead of hugs or handshakes
  • The group shall maintain distance from other trekking groups and villagers.

Water-based Activities

Water-based activities (rafting, kayak, canyoning, bungee jumping, paragliding, and others) are contact intensive nature. So these activities are offered only to

Same group

Travelers who are traveling together

Families

All teams working water-based activities should receive training that comprises:

  • Prevention of Infection, Breaking the Chain and Hygiene Protocols
  • Physical Distancing Protocols
  • Emergency Protocols
  • Dynamic Problem Solving
  • Updated First Aid training

The activity leader should also be trained in passing on the significant points of the training to other members of the team throughout the course of the operation.

Make available hand sanitizer, mask and glove for staff and clients

Code of conduct to be presented prominently for guest assurance

Sanitize the rafting accessories (i.e. rafts, Oars, Life Jackets, Vehicle, Kitchen, Dining, Utensils, Tent, mattress, sleeping bags etc) following the cleaning protocols.

Protective Equipment

  • Wear Masks, and Gloves, use Sanitizer and other Protective equipment
  • Wash hands after every contact with any items or surface or as per requirement
  • Stay at a minimum of 1-meter distance from each other

On the raft

  • Each client shall have a minimum of 1 m distance inside the raft.
  • Family members shall maintain 1 m minimum distance and as per raft capacity

Guide and all staff would set a good role model of following the protocol for the clients to follow.

  • The guide should brief both staff and clients about the ‘Health and Safety Protocol” before and during the trek, and make sure that both staff and clients are following these guidelines.
  • The guide should include in the everyday briefing anything having to do with interactions with locals or village protocol during the day’s trek.
  • Actively watch and observe on the medical state of all clients.
  • Carry satellite communications to report any emergency, evacuation of any sick, or potentially infected clients.
  • Leaders should be mindful of communities where the tours and adventure activities are happening and minimize the chances of contamination.
  • All activity leaders have to maintain a daily Leader Log in a set format to record itinerary and points of contact to facilitate contact tracing should the need arise. This could include everyday temperature checks and self-assessment symptom form by the trekkers.
  • First Aid Kits with every Leader containing extra masks, disposable gloves, soap, and/or sanitizers.
  • Activity leaders should work along with other leaders in a destination to ensure minimal risk of contamination, and maintain a high level of hygiene.

GUEST – ON ARRIVAL BUT BEFORE CHECK-IN/PICK-UP ETC.

If a Guest has symptoms on arrival before checking-in, before pick-up etc., they should be asked to contact their healthcare professional and self-isolate and monitor their symptoms. This is unless symptoms are already severe, in which case a medical professional should be consulted instantly

Others

  • To maintain 1 m space when queuing up for booking service, get on the vehicle, meals, boarding the raft, in all areas where service is being received and during the entire journey
  • Group distancing shall be determined according to the types of the trekkers such as FITs, Group, Family, School and Solo
  • Avoid crowding and maintain physical distance in all public areas
  • Health checkup is mandatory for all the participants at the beginning and the end of the activities in nearby Health check post. Its records should be maintained and submitted to DOT

Safety and health measures at the workplace

  • Follow standard procedures for waste management. Waste material produced during the cleaning should be placed in the unsorted garbage.
  • Office sanitization by disinfecting surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, handles, keyboard, telephone, computers, light switches, chairs, etc. to be done at least twice a day.
  • Hand sanitizers to be made accessible at common areas
  • Avoid using and borrowing other’s belongings for instance pens, earphones, water bottles, etc.
  • Do not share food or utensils
  • Proper ventilation of the premises and limited use of controlled air appliances.
  • Place minimum visible objects in on the tables.
  • Ensure strict physical distancing in common areas such as kitchen, balcony, restrooms, and waiting area
  • Place information boards in visible spots with clear hygiene and safety guidelines.
  • Notify staff to stay home from work if they experience symptoms compatible with COVID-They are recommended to follow local public health guidance and seek medical assistance.
  • Staff running temperature more than 98.6° F should be asked to return home
  • Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after every transaction
  • Provide staff with tissues and waste bins lined with a plastic bag so that they can be emptied without contacting the contents
  • Utilize online meetings facility as far as possible
  • Washrooms, change rooms, and kitchen utensils to be cleaned and sanitized at every use with reliable disinfectant.

Office Kitchen

  • The kitchen must be sanitized at regular intervals
  • Ensure proper cleaning of vegetables and all other materials that are required in the kitchen; use approved sanitizing agent
  • Ensure all kitchen equipment get sanitized after each use

Receiving tools

  • Proper cleaning procedures for items being received
  • All supplies need to be completely sanitized before entering the store and refrigerators
  • Ensure the area is sanitized at regular intervals
  • Vendors should be advised on how we will accept goods and how their staff should arrive with necessary protective gear.

Guest Transport

  • Driver must wear personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, etc.)
  • The car is disinfected upon arrival and upon departure
  • Join hands together when greeting guests, instead of shaking hands. If the staff does physically interact with guests, wash hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer after every interaction.
  • Clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces including door handles, seats, on a daily basis. Drivers must ensure door and grip handles are constantly wiped clean, and wear gloves while handling luggage.
  • Make sure to replenish hand sanitizer dispenser, tissue paper, alcohol wipe on board for the guests to use throughout the journey.
  • A driver should be taught to limit conversations to minimal
  • A proposed rule of thumb for Passenger per vehicle:

Car: 1/2 Pax + 1      12 seater

Jumbo: 6 Pax + 1    20-22 seater

Coaster: 10 Pax + 1   35 Seater

Bus: 15 + 1

  • Practice healthy personal and respiratory hygiene
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not accessible. .
  • Clean and disinfect vehicles regularly.
  • Appropriate non-touch bins should be available for disposal of wipes

Cleaning and disinfecting vehicle

  • Clean and disinfect the surfaces and objects that are touched frequently by passengers, as door handles, window buttons, locks, armrests, seat cushions, buckles, and seatbelts. Also wipe down surfaces that drivers often touch, like the steering wheel, radio buttons, turn indicators, and cup holders.
  • Use regular disinfectant products (for instance, Clorox, peroxide, or alcohol-based multipurpose products) that are suitable for the surface.
  • Keep the vehicle doors open while vacuuming and disinfecting.
  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and only use them once. Throw gloves in the trash after use and wash hands immediately with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Wait until all surfaces have dried before giving a ride to guests.
  • Clean and disinfect the vehicles and hubs regularly with the standard detergents, ensure the increased frequency of waste collection.
  • All vehicles after longer trips, or at the end of a day, should go through a deeper clean, and car hire vehicles must go through a similar deep clean on return

Maintain Physical Distancing while transporting guests

  • Check the temperature of all the passengers before boarding.
  • Keep as a minimum 6 feet (a difficult proposition in small vehicles) of the distance between driver and others, whenever possible.
  • The seat next to the driver must be vacant
  • Guests must sit in the back to create physical distance. If the vehicle has a partition, close the partition before picking up passengers. If the vehicle does not have a partition, consider putting up a clear plastic barrier between the front and back of the vehicle (note: barrier should not affect rearview mirror visibility).
  • Transport only those guests who are in the same group.
  • Set ventilation to non-recirculate air mode in both the driver and passenger sections wherever possible. Alternately, keep the windows open.
  • Maintain a logbook of all fuel stops, repair, and maintenance sites for future contact tracing.
  • Place safety information leaflets for guests in the back seat.
  • Create more personal space preferably arrange alternate seats whenever possible.
  • Ensure guests stay on the designated seats. No changing of the seats allowed.

Staff Safety and Training

  • All employees and trekking crews required receiving training to ensure health and safety measures are upheld and to protect the health of our guests.
  • Encourage employees’ use of private rather than public transport, for example encouraging workers to walk to work, use of bicycles if possible.
  • Wear gloves during cash transactions. If cash is handled without gloves, hands must be washed to avoid a significant risk of contamination
  • Educate leaders, crew, and staff on how to detect COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Some staff in certain functions such as guiding guests, vehicle cleaning should have additional training specific to their roles.
  • Tour/ Trekking Leader is trained regularly on the Emergency Protocol in case there is an outbreak (within the group or in the area where the group is touring)

Chain Supplier’s Health and Safety Protocol

  • Require all suppliers to detail their cleaning and sanitation etiquettes.
  • Our team will closely inspect the chain suppliers including accommodation, restaurants, and transport providers on their cleanliness and sanitation.

Guests Agreement

  • Guests should carry their own masks with them to use when traveling.
  • Guests should report to guide/ leader of any symptoms of kind of illness.
  • Guests should have travel medical insurance that covers helicopter evacuation, and the travel medical company would insure that clients would be medi-vaced out in case of any illness.
  • Guests shall agree to follow the company’s health and safety protocol in case of any suspected case of virus transmission or illness within the group or within the area.
  • Guests shall be requested to carry their own sanitizer with them in their packs at all times (they would bring their own on activity with them).

Cash handling

Minimize cash transactions wherever possible. Pre-payments, EFTs, credit, and debit cards should be maximized. If a guest or staff member handles cash, hand sanitizing should be done instantly afterward.