GHTA Inc. Covid-19 Protocol and Tips – Sept. 20, 2020

The following policy statement was issued to the membership at the end of September. For convenience, and to assist members, potential, new and “old”, it is presented below. Please note the Nov. 14, 2020 update post “New Public Health Restrictions”, which of course applies to participants from Red and Grey Zones.

 Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. 

Sept. 20, 2020 Covid-19 Protocol and Tips

Covid-19 continues to challenge us all, but matters have evolved since our last edition of Protocol and Tips.

Group Size:  the province currently restricts to 25 persons outdoors, but as a practical matter, some hikes may be restricted to fewer than 10 – 15 hikers to permit social distancing and in view of parking availability and in consideration of other users of the trails.

Carpooling:  still not permitted except for persons in a bubble.  

Social Distance:  a distance of 2 meters must be maintained between hikers at all times (except those bubbled).  This means that hikers behind another hiker should take responsibility for keeping that 2 meters distance – and if necessary, slow down, stop, or back up; also, if hikers meet others coming towards them on foot or bike, or attempting to pass them, they should step off the trail by 2 meters,   If enjoying a break/lunch etc.  be off the trail by 2 meters.

Masks:  it is recommended to carry a mask, but mostly won’t be needed on the trail, unless aiding another hiker at closer than two meters.

First Aid Kit:  Hikers should carry their own basic first aid materials, such as bandaids, tick removers, etc.

Parking:  Hikers should not park in front of any gates, on private lawns, or blocking farm machinery or other vehicles from accessing the area.  If you arrive at a parking lot that is full, go somewhere else.

Hike destinations:  Choose where and when to go.  It’s best if we don’t all go to the most popular trailheads or parks at the most popular times of day.  Planning 2 hikes on the same day, each of smaller size, may be useful – especially if pre-registration is used.  Given carpooling restrictions and climate change, staying local for the most part makes sense.  

Waivers:  The matter of waivers is under reconsideration at the moment, and Clubs are following a variety of practices.  If and when signing waivers, consider having hand sanitizer available for participants to wash their hands after handling pen and clipboard.  Whatever local Clubs are doing about waivers, hike leaders should keep a list of hikers who attend a hike (with their phone numbers), for a month, so that contact tracing can be provided to public health personnel should the need arise because someone in a hike tests positive for Covid, or is a close contact of a case.

Be considerate of other hikers:  do what you can to promote a peaceful and enjoyable experience for all in the forest.  Put your cell phones on vibrate, and unless it is an emergency, refrain from talking on the phone while hiking.  If you are feeling unwell, Covid or not, stay home.  

Above all – enjoy yourselves.  We are lucky to be able to go out and hike safely!

Leave a Reply