Our Coronavirus COVID19 Update 17th July 2020
Exempt countries and territories list
Countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel for British citizens that we run treks to:
- France (overseas territories of France are listed separately, where included in the exemption)
Travel corridors where quarantine on return to the UK is not necessary:
Luckily in the mountains it is advised to carry a mask and not wear one unless going into an enclosed space. Outside in restaurants it’s fine too and we have the latest refuge guidelines too.
People in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland now have to wear face coverings if they are travelling on public transport. The rule is coming into force in Wales from 27 July. And if you live in Scotland, face coverings must be worn in shops too. Face coverings will also have to be worn in when visiting shops in England from 24 July.
Wearing of masks in enclosed public spaces is planned to be compulsory for August 1 in France.
The use of face masks is obligatory to anyone over the age of six-years-old in all public spaces. The rule is mandatory for where it’s not possible to maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres.
It is mandatory to wear facemasks on public transport (including flights and ferries), at airports, in taxis, in all medical facilities and in lifts. The use of facemasks is strongly recommended in other closed spaces, but not compulsory.
Mandatory on public transport and in shops.
Mountain regions and advice
The international body for climbing and mountaineering the UIAA has created a task force to share good practice in Mountain areas relating to Covid 19. You can see the updates from Federation members here:
CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) UPDATE: 29th June 2020
Summer holidays abroad have been given the green light after ministers confirmed the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK will be scrapped for a slew of popular destinations.
Only passengers arriving into the UK from nations in the red category, where the spread of coronavirus is deemed to be high, will be told to self-isolate for two weeks.
ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener says the travel ban on all but essential travel is likely to be lifted on July 6 and in its place a traffic light system will be introduced
Are we ready?
- Yes we have guidance in place and extra hygiene measures for our treks this summer crossing the Pyrenees
- Yes we follow refuge regulations and they are filled to half capacity. We have precautions for transport we offer and extra hotels are open according to French and Spanish regulations.
- Yes Restaurants are open outdoors without a mask and indoors with a mask though this requirement could be lifted soon.
- Yes You will be able to travel here by plane and ferry. Please enquire if you prefer to bring your own car and not have airport pick up as this will reduce the trek cost for you 🙂
- Yes We can’t wait to welcome you!
CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) UPDATE: 8th June 2020
Spain confirms quarantine on foreign tourists will be lifted on June 21st which is good for our treks transiting from Spain to France
Pyrenees has opened its mountains to tourists and most refuges are ready to receive guests including those on the Freedom Trail. Cafe’s and restaurants open
Our Freedom Trail itineraries are operational if people can get there and cafe’s and restaurants are opening in France with it possible to eat food and drink outside.
And the less good news for tour operators an travel professionals is that the UK has imposed a 14 day quarantine rule on the 8 June for those entering the UK from Abroad except from Ireland:
which is expected to mean the situation will unfortunately stay the same for at least 3 weeks though there is opposition to it. We strongly hope this will be lifted in early July at the latest as we see Covid 19 cases falling.
Today Covid19 death rates fall to below lockdown level
The UK has recorded its lowest daily rise in the number of coronavirus deaths since before lockdown on 23 March, latest government figures show and also the lowest number of new cases.
What to book for August, September and October?
We will be very excited to welcome you then! In fact any time if you can get here or to one of our Covid Safer locations.
What’s going on in Europe?
Andorra Freedom Trail, Dolomites WW1, Andorra 3 Nations Trek, The Freedom Trail, Coastal Freedom Trail, Ariege GR10, Cathar way and Carcassonne
What’s going on in the rest of the world?
Jordan Petra and Wadi Rum, Nepal trekking, Toubkal, Tenerife Sea to Summit, Kalymnos round island trek.
NEW Toubkal and Aconcagua
CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) UPDATE: 13th APRIL 2020
The current situation is unlike anything the travel industry has ever seen before, and we are all working hard to get through it as best we can. This is the first time we have had to put a pause on customers adventuring somewhere in the World. Our whole ethos is based around enabling people to get out there and adventure and as a small business this is a difficult time. Therefore we have made the tough decision to suspend all trips until 1st June 2020 for the health and safety of our own contractors and customers always have and always and always will remain our priority.
We are very honoured that you continue to choose to travel with us. As a ground operator for larger companies we also respect their operations too and their charity clients who may be disappointed to need to postpone their fundraising activity or if you planned to travel from a country with extensive restrictions. Rest assured we are keeping up to date with this.
The global spread of Covid 19 and the knock on effects it had on travel (not to mention the more recent restrictions the whole of the UK now find themselves in) could obviously not have been foreseen
We totally appreciate it’s going to be much tougher right now but know that the determination some of you have shown on previous trips will enable you to find a way through this challenging time and the rewards at the end will be all the sweeter. Were here to take you on your next adventure.
It’s crucial to us and our partners, and for our local teams, as small businesses, that people begin to travel again when it is safe to do so. With this in mind, at such a time we have to cancel any trips due to travel restrictions, we ask you to strongly consider postponing your trips with us rather than cancelling, as we would love to take you on the adventure of the lifetime in the future. We’ll be reaching out as soon as things return to normal and once it’s safe to live the adventure again. We’re in this together.
In the mean-time please stay safe, look after yourselves and family and we’ll see you out there again when we’re able.
Anne Arran – MD and Founder
OFFICIAL INFORMATION AND SOURCES
If you would like to understand more about the latest Government Travel Advice explicitly linked to the COVID-19 situation, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
The World Health Organisation publish a daily situation report and have a whole section of their website dedicated to Covid-19. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
You can access the situation reports here: WHO situation reports
It is worth noting that the WHO numbers tend to lag a little behind general news reports. However, we use this as our main reference point because these are verified figures.
Practical advice and guidance can be found at the following links:They also publish daily reports here. Travel Pro Health website
FAQ’S RELATING TO COVID-19
WHAT HAPPENS IF SPA ADVENTURE TREKS LTD (freedom trail treks) CANCEL MY TRIP?
If we cancel your trip, or if we cannot deliver a significant part of it as a result of Covid 19, then you can choose from the following 3 options:
- Transfer to another departure of the same trip up until the end of 2021.
- Transfer to any other trip we’re offering of the same or higher value until the end of 2021.
- If you do not wish to transfer your booking or the same trip is not available during that time, we will provide you with a Refund Credit Note for your trip payment which is valid until at least 31st July 2020, and likely to be extended beyond that. You can use this credit note towards any other trip with us at any time in the future but the trip must be booked by 31st July 2020.
If we have to cancel your trip, we will contact you as soon as possible with as much advanced notice as possible.
We want to avoid cancelling trips unless absolutely necessary: that is, unless travel advice from the FCO changes for your destination country, or unless the trip becomes operationally unviable due to safety or logistical concerns. But please be assured, the safety of our customers will ALWAYS come first. If we have any doubts whatsoever about our trips and the associated risk, they will be cancelled. You will be informed if this impacts you. We want you to make the decision that is right for you
We are prioritising our imminent departures at the moment, but continue to monitor every destination we travel to.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CHOOSE TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
Spa Adventure Treks will only cancel trips due to operational restrictions or safety concerns, or if the FCO advise against travel to your destination. We will let you know as soon as we can if we’re due to cancel your trip.
If you choose to cancel your trip with us, before we have made a decision about the trip, or if the trip is still going ahead as planned, our usual cancellation policy will apply. You may be able to claim costs on your travel insurance depending on the circumstances and the extent of your insurance coverage, but no refund or compensation can be claimed from Spa Adventure Treks Ltd. You can read our Ts&Cs in full here. We would respectfully ask all of our clients to postpone their trip to a later date or take advantage of this refund credit note scheme, rather than asking for a cash refund. In most cases we have already secured bookings on behalf of clients for which we are not receiving a refund, so it is clearly an unfair situation where we have to give refunds but get none in return.
WILL MY TRIP IN JULY OR AUGUST RUN?
We haven’t cancelled any trips in July or August 2020 and are waiting to see how the situation evolves. We will contact you ASAP as soon as we see what is likely to be the situation with travel and on the ground in country at that time.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE IN MY GROUP SHOWS SYMPTOMS WHILST ON THE TRIP, OR THE GROUP GETS INFECTED?
If you or another member of your group displays symptoms of COVID-19 we will work with our leaders and local team to ensure that you and the rest of your group are safe. This would likely involve the affected participant being isolated from the group and transferred to a medical facility to receive the appropriate treatment, and if necessary, the cancellation of the rest of the trip.
If you suspect you are ill on a challenge, or if you believe that you have come into contact with a known COVID-19 case, we advise the following steps:
- Stay indoors if possible and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu.
- Call your leader to inform them of your unwellness.
- Call your travel insurance company to discuss what you should do.
- Follow local public health guidance (if available)
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM PUT INTO QUARANTINE IN MY DESTINATION, AND WHO WILL COVER THE COST OF THIS?
Many travel insurers will not cover the costs of medical expenses incurred whilst choosing to travel in a country known to have a coronavirus risk. You must check your travel insurance policy to see whether you are covered – this may depend on when you purchased the policy.
We always recommend bringing a contingency fund for emergencies for circumstances such as this. The recommended amount is listed in your challenge FAQs and information.
Whilst we will do our best to assist you in coordinating with our team on the ground, medical facilities, and other partners, we cannot cover costs associated with being quarantined in-country.
WHAT DOES MY TRAVEL INSURANCE COVER IF I BECOME ILL?
Every travel insurance policy is different. You must read your policy wording carefully, and contact your insurer if you have any questions or concerns. You should also travel with copies of your travel insurance documents. Whilst we take copies of your insurance as proof of coverage, the ultimate responsibility for having the correct and adequate coverage is your own.
We always recommend bringing a contingency fund for emergencies for circumstances. The recommended amount is listed in your challenge FAQs and information.
HOW IS THE SPREAD AND CONTAINMENT OF COVID-19 BEING MANAGED IN MY DESTINATION?
In all of our destination countries, we are working closely with our ground teams and are monitoring their operational responses to the coronavirus outbreak regularly. The key things to be aware of are:
Our ground teams and leaders in all destinations are following and implementing all of the World Health Organization recommendations for infection prevention.
All contractors and partners are closely monitoring multiple channels of official news, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the World Health Organisation.
Ground teams and leaders in all destinations are informed of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the safety precautions required to prevent transmission of the disease. Staff and participants will be assisted in isolation and seeking medical attention where necessary.
Hand-washing and the use of alcohol-based handwashes are available for all participants throughout our trips, including implementing new hand-washing stations at campsites and equipping vehicles with hand sanitizer.