Covid 19 Protocols

These are the protocols that we follow on our tours regarding Covid-19.

This material is based on the suggestions given by the Ministry of Health, ICT and ATTA, in addition to other reliable sources.

This document will be updated as our health authorities dictate new changes. It is about implementing layers of protection and prevention, the more there are the better.

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What are the typical symptoms of Covid-19?

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Cough

Other symptoms may include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat and headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of taste or smell

What actions should be taken if a tourist or our staff is suspected of having Covid-19?

  • After identifying possible symptoms in a suspicious tourist, they should immediately isolate themselves from the rest of the group and their social bubble.
  • We require they wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
  • We then notify the Ministry of Health and follow their instructions as to how to proceed (#911, Covid-19 line #1322 y # CCSS #2290-0513, 2290-1893, 2103-1500)
  • Afterwards notify Costa Rica Sun Tours ( 8382-8335, 2296-7757)
  • Depending on what the Ministry of Health says, the tourist with symptoms will be transferred to a medical center to be evaluated by a doctor and undergo a Covid-19 test. If the person tests positive, medical indications should be followed, either staying hospitalized or going into quarantine.
  • If the guide or the driver feels symptoms of Covid-19, they must follow the same protocol, notify the Ministry of Health, notify CRST, comply with the instructions and isolation protocols. Coordinate with Operations the rest of the tour and the transfer to San José.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS  FOR ALL TOURS/TRIPS

  1. Maintain current basic hygiene and prevention protocols: social distancing, minimize contact and greetings between people, cover mouth and nose to cough and sneeze, and constant hand washing.
  2. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes at all times without first washing your hands.
  3. Always carry a hand sanitizer.
  4. Both guides and drivers must have their own PPE (masks, face coverings, and gloves).
  5. Tourists must bring their own PPE. However, in case a tourist needs some extra PPE, it will be provided.
  6. In some cases temperature check of tourists will be taken with a hand-held digital thermometer for health screening monitoring.
  7. Reinforce the cleaning and disinfection of objects that are given to tourists: boxes of chocolates, bottles of water, etc.
  8. Before each tour, guides and drivers must fill out a health form that will be previously sent by CRST.
  9. With the most isolated rural communities, and in order not to expose them, risk monitoring will be done before visiting them (following ATTA’s international recommendations).
  10. You should always use PPE and maintain a social distance, especially near people in rural communities so as not to expose or infect them.
  11. Monitor the saturation of the sites to visit. If they are very crowded and social distancing is not achieved, the order of activities could be changed.
  12. CRST together with Costa Rica Medical Response provides support to guides and tourists for any field medical assistance. Phones: 8304-2121 and 2286-1818. Email: travelassistance@costaricamedicalresponse.com
  13. Maintain an updated list of private clinics that have Covid-19 test capability, hotels providing quarantine and Intensive Care Units

GUIDE/ DRIVER-HOST

  1. During the tour the guides must monitor every day if tourists have symptoms of Covid-19 or flu. If symptoms are present, they must report to CRST and follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health.
  2. Part of the daily monitoring is the temperature check protocol:
    • Using a hand-held thermometer:
    • Check the reading:
      • TEMP 38C/100.4 F or ABOVE: Guides will do another check in 15 minutes. If a tourist temperature exceeds 38C tourist will be isolate and his/her cohorts and close travel companions, and follow the actions of suspected of having Covid-19.
  3. Symptom monitoring applies to the guide and the driver.
  4. Monitor compliance with the hygiene guidelines established by the Ministry of Health at all times.
  5. Ensure that all tourists wear their PPE whenever social distance cannot be maintained.
  6. Each guide must wear their PPE if social distance cannot be maintained with tourists.
  7. Always carry a hand sanitizer solution to share with tourists (on walks, on the minibus).
  8. Remind hygiene guidelines and protocols for each of the daily activities or the sites to visit.
  9. Avoid sharing objects like sunscreen and insect repellants.
  10. Binoculars should not be shared with tourists.
  11. The use of the telescope and manipulation of the telescope is exclusive to the guide, and should not be manipulated by tourists.
  12. The digiscoping will be evaluated by each guide and with the consent of the tourist. If done, cleaning protocols must be followed every time a cell phone or camera is touched.
  13. Each guide must have their personal microphone for use in the minibuses and it must not be shared.
  14. The briefings or safety talks before hiking or any other activity must be carried out with the necessary social distancing. And preferably in ventilated and open places.
  15. In case of performing CPR or giving first aid, PPE (masks and gloves) should be used and hands should be disinfected before and after the event.

    TRANSPORTATION

    1. Each driver must wear PPE.
    2. They must have extra PPE available for tourists inside the minibus in case someone needs it.
    3. Drivers always have to maintain social distance from tourists. If helping a tourist get on or off the bus, they must have their PPE on and use hand sanitizer before and after.
    4. All transportation vehicles must have hand sanitizer and paper towels for tourists.
    5. Each vehicle must be meticulously disinfected daily before and after each transfer, using cleaning products authorized by the Ministry of Health.
    6. Frequently clean high-contact surfaces.
    7. Vehicles must have designated trash cans with plastic bags for PPE waste.
    8. Inside the vehicles, the general hygiene protocols dictated by the Ministry of Health must be labeled.
    9. Eliminate objects to share such as: magazines, brochures, cushions, field guides, etc.
    10. Passengers must sit as far apart as possible.
    11. Open windows and promote natural ventilation whenever possible.
    12. Disinfect suitcases every day before entering the bus, especially the handles.
    13. For travel by air and sea, the protocols of each company must be respected. Inside each boat and plane, the greatest possible social distancing should also be maintained, use hand sanitizer and wear PPE.

    HOTELS

    1. Learn about and remind the hygiene guidelines and protocols corresponding to each hotel.
    2. Monitor that the hotels protocols are complied with:
      • That the common areas do not exceed the maximum authorized capacities.
      • That high contact surfaces such as: railings, doors, telephones are disinfected regularly.
      • That there is a clear demarcation of social distancing established in all common areas.
      • That hygiene practices are prominently posted in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health in the most common languages.
      • That there are enough stations with soap, alcohol gel and disposable towels in common spaces and bedrooms.
      • That the hotel staff use PPE, especially when they have direct contact with the tourist.
      • That the distance between the restaurant tables is met.
    3. In the case that there are tourists with symptoms of Covid-19, the recommendations of the hotel and the Ministry of Health must be respected.

    RESTAURANT AND MEALS

    1. Do not stop at places to eat that violate the protocols of the Ministry of Health, in accordance with the opening phases that are being dictated.
    2. Maintain the greatest distance once seated at the tables.
    3. Buffet-style meals must meet the new standards of hygiene and prevention.
    4. Make sure that before each meal, tourists, drivers and guides wash their hands.
    5. Sharing “appetizers”, desserts or entrees during meals will not be allowed. Everything should be served separate for each bubble or tourist.
    6. If the guides have to serve snacks in lookouts or outdoor spaces, they must wear gloves and PPE. Each appetizer must be served separately for each bubble or tourist.
    7. Menus, utensils, plates, salt shakers, dressings, and the like should not be shared at tables.
    8. It is recommended to use individual packets of condiments, sugar or salt.
    9. When using coolers -as in Corcovado- only the guide can distribute the drinks, no other person can open or touch the drinks inside the coolers.
    10. You cannot share snacks on the buses. They must be delivered one per person or per bubble.
    11. When filling waterbottles, the guide will not touch the tourist’s bottle, nor will the tourist touch the big water containers. The same to serve wines or other drinks (the guide will not touch the glass and the tourist will not touch the bottle of wine).

    ADVENTURE TOURS AND OTHER TOURS IN GENERAL

    1. Get informed and remind the hygiene guidelines and corresponding protocols of each subcontracted operator.
    2. Monitor that the protocols of each of the operators are complied with:
      • That the common areas do not exceed the maximum authorized capacities.
      • That high contact surfaces and adventure equipment such as harnesses, helmets, gloves, life jackets, paddles, rafts are disinfected regularly. In addition, this must be done before and after use and no equipment can be shared if it has not been previously disinfected.
      • That there is a clear demarcation of social distancing established in all common areas.
      • That hygiene practices are prominently posted in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Health in the most common languages.
      • That there are enough stations with soap, alcohol gel and disposable towels in common spaces.
      • That local guides use PPE, especially when they have direct contact with the tourist.
      • That the local guides do not share sunscreen or repellants.
      • That constant hand washing is promoted before and after the tours.
    3. In indoor activities, basic hygiene and prevention protocols will be maintained: use of PPE, social distancing, reduction of contact and greetings between people, covering mouth and nose to cough and sneeze, and constant hand washing.

    NATIONAL PARKS AND PRIVATE RESERVES

    1. Learn and have everyone follow the hygiene guidelines and protocols of each park and reserve.
    2. Guides must respect capacity and social distance on the trails.
    3. The use of PPE will be required if social distance cannot be maintained. For example helping tourists in difficult parts of the trail, or at points or crossings of the trail saturated with other tourists.
    4. Hand washing or disinfection with hand sanitizer should be encouraged whenever possible.
    5. The health of tourists who have difficulty walking with PPE should be monitored.
    6. The guide or tourist who shows symptoms compatible with COVID-19 should not enter parks or reserves.
    7. Within the parks the use of cash should be avoided, and it is recommended to use electronic means of payment.
    8. Try to use the least complicated or dangerous trails to avoid emergency situations.
    9. Sharing equipment among walkers such as walking sticks, binoculars, bird guides, telescopes, insect repellent, sunscreen, etc. should be avoided. Each person must bring their own equipment.
    10. If you have to handle equipment or personal belongings of the tourist, you must wash your hands before and after and use PPE.
    11. Guides must carry a disinfectant in case they need to apply to equipment or objects that may be transmission vectors of Covid-19.
    12. You should avoid sharing candy and bottles of water on the trail. Each person should bring their own treats, water, and personal items.