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Zephyr and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated November 28, 2020

The travel world – indeed the entire world – has been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand this has greatly impacted you, as it has greatly impacted us and our ability to run tours.

After having canceled all our tours from March through June, we did safely run tours this past summer. However, given the sharp rise in infections we have again halted tours through at least January 15. After that date, we will resume running private tours. Starting with our February 22 – 26 Snowshoeing in Yellowstone tour, we will require a negative result on a COVID test or proof of vaccination on all public group tours.

Our 2021 schedule is online now, we have purposefully created our schedule based on the pandemic, and we are confident we can run these tours. If we do cancel a tour on our schedule, you can receive a full credit or refund, your choice.

Following are our procedures for keeping you safe.

Small-Group Adventure Travel

Our small-group tours are safer than larger bus tours or cruises and outdoor, active travel is by its nature safer since biking, hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, and other activities can all be done with more social distancing.

Health of Participants

You will be in contact with other participants but by keeping each person healthy, we hope to keep everyone healthy, forming our own travel bubble.

  • For our scheduled group tours available to everyone, we will require a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination. If you cannot obtain a test locally, we will facilitate mail-based tests that are quite reasonable at $119.
  • We will encourage our travelers to be extra careful during travel to the tour location.
  • We will require all tour participants to certify prior to the tour that they do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus and have not been in contact with anyone they know is infected.
  • We will have a non-touch thermometer on site to take the temperature of tour participants. (The CDC considers a person to have a fever at 100.4 degrees.)
  • We will train our staff to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and be prepared to screen tour participants.
  • At some point, it might even be possible to test each person at the start of a tour. Airports might also initiate this.

Airline Flights

Most of our tour participants fly to their destination and we are not in control of that aspect of travel. However, airlines and airports are taking extraordinary steps to keep passengers safe, including not selling tickets for middle seats, new electrostatic sanitation after each flight, mask requirements, and passenger screenings. We highly suggest you book tickets on airlines that require masks and limit capacity on flights.

Tour Safety Precautions

  • We will provide an introductory briefing on the first day of your tour about precautions we should all take.
  • We will have face masks, hand sanitizer, a first aid kit, and a thermometer available on the tour.
  • We will move as many activities (introductions, morning meetings, etc) outside as possible.
  • We will sanitize our van daily.
  • We will eliminate handshakes and glass sharing.
  • We will ask all participants to have a face mask available and will ask you to use it in specific situations such as van rides.

Hotels and Restaurants

Hotels and restaurants, too, are taking extraordinary measures to keep patrons safe beyond just extra cleanings. For hotels this includes special rules for elevator capacity, removing handheld items such as pens, leaving rooms empty for 24 hours before someone checks in, and virtual checkins. For restaurants this includes reduced capacity, encouraging outdoor dining, and face masks for employees.

  • We will communicate with our hotels and restaurants to ensure they are following updated recommendations for maintaining safety.
  • We will eat as many meals as possible outside by doing more upscale picnics, outdoor dining, or take-out in local parks.
  • If we do eat indoors we will eat in smaller groups.
  • We have reduced our single supplements to encourage single travelers to book single rooms.

Ground Transportation

  • Where possible, we will reduce van rides requiring everyone to be inside at once.
  • Where possible, we will use larger vehicles or more vehicles so each person can have their own row.
  • We will run shuttles more often with fewer people in each run.
  • We will very likely require masks while in vans and will sanitize vehicles daily.
  • In fact, on many of our tours you can actually drive yourself rather than ever getting in a van. Just ask us.

Higher Risk Travelers

If you are at higher risk or just have a low risk tolerance, you are welcome to implement even stricter measures on tours. You can choose to drive yourself to a domestic tour, including from hotel to hotel. You can choose to eat with your own travel party at dinner. You can choose to skip any group activities we have planned.

Travel in 2021

For 2021 we are able to set a schedule that combines safety with appealing destinations.

  • We have added more domestic tour locations since international travel will continue to have restrictions.
  • Tours outside the United States have been scheduled towards the summer and fall months.
  • We have added new tours in the west, midwest, and northeast to provide options within driving distance for more people.
  • We have identified tours that require fewer or even no shuttles at all, so you never have to get in a van or restaurant.

Summary

We are always focused on safety, with our guides being trained in first aid and CPR. As we recover from the pandemic, we are prepared to offer you small-group adventure travel vacations in as safe and responsible a manner as possible. Most importantly, we know you want to travel and we will be there for you when you are ready!

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