Bio Bio Expeditions – Our Response to COVID-19
We will follow protocol for country or countries visited during your trip. At this point most countries require a proof of negative Covid Test 72 hours prior to arrival.
Leading up to your trip, this includes signing our updated Risk/Release form, exercising extra caution to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19, and closely monitoring yourself and family for symptoms prior to departure. Five days before your trip, you’re also required to sign and complete our new Health & Hygiene Pledge, stating that you are healthy and you will abide by BBX protocols and participate in all screening measures. These screening measures include a COVID symptom questionnaire and temperature check prior to travel, at the pre-trip meeting, and daily for the duration of your trip to ensure there hasn’t been any changes in health among the group.
Generally, face coverings are not required while in a boat. However, we expect all guests and staff to use them in the following situations:
- At the pre-trip meeting
- When entering any building
- While traveling in a vehicle or aircraft
- When meeting someone for the first time, or when approaching another group on the river/trail
- In the food line for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
To adhere to these guidelines, we’re asking all guests to arrive with a minimum of two reusable/washable face coverings such as a bandana, cloth mask, or neck gaiter and be prepared to use a clean face covering each day.
SANITATION & HYGIENE
BBX has always adhered to a high standard of sanitation and hygiene, but we’ve doubled down on certain protocols when it comes to transportation, equipment, hand washing, and food service.
Transportation — In addition to reducing the number of people in all vehicles, face coverings and hand washing/sanitizing is required before boarding. Once on board additional precautions include: requiring physical distancing, opening windows whenever possible, and eliminating the use of recirculation mode for the air conditioner/heater. All vehicles are cleaned and sanitized after each use.
Equipment — With an emphasis on reducing or eliminating shared items, all personal gear including helmets, PFDs, tents, sleep kits, and dry bags are assigned for the whole trip, clearly marked and distinguishable from others. Other communal items are sanitized frequently, or have been eliminated. For example, group games that involve close contact and touching of a common object are restricted.
Following every trip, all equipment is properly sanitized or laundered. Tents and sleeping pads are sanitized and/or cycled out of use for 72 hours.
Hand washing — In camp, there is an added emphasis on hand washing. In addition to convenient locations for two to three foot pump-operated hand wash stations at every camp, we also bring a supply of hand sanitizer and each boat is equipped with soap and/or hand sanitizer. However, we’re also asking guests to bring their own supply of hand sanitizer for more convenient personal use when other options are not available.
Food service — When packing, preparing, or otherwise handling food or beverages, staff are required to wear face masks and gloves and we’ve enhanced sanitation efforts across all areas. We’ve removed communal snacks and appetizers from our menus, and instead of our traditional breakfast and dinner buffets and make-your-own-sandwich lunches, all meals are served by your guides.
Despite the communal nature of our trips, we’re asking guests to practice physical distancing and maintain at least six feet from BBX staff and other people who are not part of your household or with whom you did not travel to the meeting place for your trip (your travel unit). Travel units will travel together in vehicles, aircraft, and boats with no more than one or two travel units per boat (one travel unit per inflatable kayak) with limited mobility between rafts, inflatable kayaks, and SUPs during the day.
If a guest or guide exhibits COVID symptoms while on a trip, we will consult with local agencies on availability and justification for evacuation as soon as possible. These individuals will also be isolated from others and we will follow EMS/WFR protocols to provide appropriate medical treatment. Testing for COVID-19 will be performed at the earliest opportunity and BBX will notify the appropriate agencies along with all trip participants of the results.
As a result of worldwide travel restrictions, we are working with our guests and affiliate operators to cancel or reschedule trips on a case by case basis. However, it’s important to note that some of our BBX trips are run in collaboration with partners and operators and include local guides, transportation services, hotels, camps, yachts, etc. These are small local businesses that support resident communities, and we’re proud to consider them part of our team. When you reserve an international trip with BBX, we make non-refundable payments for entrance fees and contract services on your behalf months in advance. Under normal circumstances, deposits and final payments (typically due 90 – 130 days prior to departure) are non-refundable. In some cases, it can be difficult, or impossible for us to get those payments back. Bottom line, we’ll do the absolute best we can under the circumstances to minimize any fees incurred, but transferring to a future trip may offer the greatest value, often at no cost to you.
We are pleased to announce our preferred insurance provider, Travelex, is now covering Covid-related issues. Travelex Insurance protection plans can provide coverage if you, a traveling companion, family member or business partner tests positive, or are diagnosed by a physician, for the coronavirus before or during your trip. This means you may be eligible for benefits such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and medical evacuation. Learn more on the Travelex Insurance Services website.