“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
Woods & Waters has always been committed to being mindful of risk when providing fun outdoor adventures — we are simply adapting to this new health hazard as best we can.
Thankfully, outdoor activities allow you to avoid the “thee C’s” — (en)closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact activities. Outdoor activities are also considered beneficial to your physical, social, and mental well-being. Let’s go play outside!
Quote: Stephen Hawking
However, be aware that by visiting Woods & Waters and/or participating in an activity or rental, you and your party knowingly and voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease spread most commonly through respiratory droplets and particles produced when an infected person exhales, talks, vocalizes, sneezes, or coughs and can lead to severe illness and death — regardless of vaccination status. The highly transmissible disease can be spread by people who have no symptoms or are unaware they are infected. Particles containing the virus can travel more than 6 feet, especially indoors.
There is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public or private place where people are present.
Your activity may include participants outside your group — please let us know if you, or a member of your party, have a health condition that might be of concern if part of a mixed cohort.
Preventing the transmission of the coronavirus might be out of our control.
Some activities, such as hands-on rescues, cannot be performed while maintaining social distancing and wearing a protective covering over the mouth and nose may not be practical or safe for the situation.
It is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other communicable diseases.
Woods & Waters retains the following rights:
- To cancel, modify, or delay a tour or rental as a result of public health advisories, quarantine requirements, or health threats stemming from public health issues.
- To have individuals answer basic health screening questions.
- To deny anyone who is exhibiting signs of illness or does not appear physically able from participating. Participants can review our cancellation policies here.
- We reserve the right to enact additional precautions.
Let’s together try to keep each other healthy. Woods & Waters will:
- Regard customers and participants as asymptomatic COVID-19 positive — regardless of vaccination status
- Be on alert for the CDC-identified symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Bar individuals exhibiting any known symptoms of COVID-19 from joining a tour or that day’s planned activity. Participants can review our cancellation policies here.
- Require following current protocols mandated by applicable government entities, such as the CDC, NPS, USFS, Michigan DNR, local health department, and/or the State of Michigan. Mandates may include wearing a face mask when on public transportation and/or when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, docks, and historic structures.
- Not require use of a protective covering over the mouth and nose in the unlikely event someone were to capsize their kayak, by either staff or participant, in order to best address water safety.
- Use recommended eye protection, N96/KN95 mask, and gloves — as well use a one-way rescue breather — when providing first aid.
- Encourage staff to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, even though it is not required for employment.
Regardless of vaccination status, require staff who develop symptoms of any illness to remain off premises until cleared for return (such as a negative COVID test). If exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the staff member will be required to self-monitor and wear a mask when around others for the recommended length of time. Staff with confirmed COVID-19 infections will be asked to remain off premises for the recommended period; then if symptoms have improved or no symptoms have developed, upon return they will be required to wear a mask for the remaining number of recommended days.
Efforts to Help Everyone Remain Healthy
- Hand washing will be encouraged for everyone before eating; after using the bathroom; after nose blowing, coughing, or sneezing; after interacting with someone who is visibly ill; and/or after touching face coverings. Hand washing for 20 seconds, combined with avoiding touching our faces and coughing or sneezing into our elbow, remain best practices for removing dirt, bacteria, viruses, and not transmitting illnesses.
- Guides will carry hand sanitizer and/or biodegradable soap for hand washing when soap and running water is unavailable. Individuals may have to supply their own water if surface water is not easily accessible. Water used for hand washing will be dispersed over land and not into surface water (as feasible).
- Participants may request Woods & Waters staff to wear a protective covering over their mouth and nose when assisting with activities such as boat fitting, launching, and landings since staying 6 feet apart will be difficult or impossible (on the water, cloth masks are preferred since disposable masks may begin disintegrating when wet).
- If individuals, outside of their social cohort, are riding together in a Woods & Waters vehicle — the windows must be open (weather permitting) or everyone must wear a mask.
- Contactless payment transactions can be made by using our website or calling to make reservations.
- High-touch surfaces on gear and shop surfaces will be disinfected regularly (as feasible).
- Gear and equipment will be regularly cleaned. Personal safety gear will have been disinfected (PFDs, wetsuits, spray skirts, SUP leashes, removable sit-on-top kayak seats, and bike helmets) between each use. Boats, even after cleaning, may still have sand and/or gravel present due to the nature of its use.
- Multi-day trip participants will be assigned their own personal-safety gear for use during the trip and will bunk with their chosen/assigned social cohorts (tent/room).
- If our physical indoor space(s) or vehicle(s) have been the site of a recent known exposure, we will thoroughly air the space out and/or disinfect surfaces (as feasible). Outdoor open-air venues will not require this measure.
- Maintain social distancing protocols of being minimally 6–10 feet apart as feasible. At kayak launch site, participants will be given paddles that can be used to establish safe social distances of 6–10 feet during kayak instruction and beach safety talk.
- Kindly notify us if you, or any member of your party, become ill within 5 days of participating in an activity. If a suspected COVID-19 case becomes verified either during or after an activity, we will alert individuals known to have close contact either in person or via phone while keeping the identity of the infected individual private (if possible). We will provide the most up-to-date CDC recommendations, in writing, including what they need to do, if anything.
Additional Risk Mitigation
- If an injury or illness occurs during an excursion, Woods & Waters staff will utilize at least one method of communication (as appropriate for the incident location) — including verbal, phone, email, or Garmin inReach — in this order: request emergency medical services (if EMS is needed and available), notify the home office of Woods & Waters, notify the appropriate land manager to coordinate emergency services if needed, and notify the participants listed emergency contacts/and or physician. Communication may be managed by the home office if guides are in the field.