For everyone on Earth there is a “before” and an “after” 2020. The COVID-19 breakdown started affecting us from the first weeks of 2020, when the spread of a pandemic from East to West started impacting tourism on a global scale. As European countries started closing their borders in early March, Latin American countries quickly understood their fate too.
At EcoCamp Patagonia, we were having a great season when the first case of Covid was reported in Chile on March, 3rd. The hotel was almost fully booked and the last days of summer were full of sunshine in Torres del Paine National Park. But because the wellbeing of everyone is our priority, we applied strict hygiene protocols as soon as we knew the pandemic was spreading in the country. Of course, it would not be enough. On March 16th, the Chilean government announced the closure of the borders.
On March 18th, all national parks were closed and all hotels had to be evacuated.
Despite this dramatic season ending, we were pleased to organize the evacuation in such good conditions, with positive vibes both from our clients and team members. For everyone it was just a “Hasta Pronto!” (see you soon). During the next few months, we worked relentlessly on measures to ensure the safety of everyone at EcoCamp in the upcoming season. All measures are aligned with the protocols designed by Chile’s Ministry of Health (MINSAL) and might be modified depending on the evolution of the situation locally and the implementation of new laws and regulations.
However, we are working to make the best decisions possible so we can safely reopen EcoCamp on November, 26th 2020. We look forward to welcoming you again in Patagonia – in the meantime, stay safe!
So we can keep offering unique experiences to travelers in the pristine beauty of Patagonia, we defined the following guidelines.
Picking Up Guests at the Airport | Trips from/to EcoCamp
All vehicles will be disinfected before every transfer
All drivers, guides and assistants will use masks and gloves at every moment
Before every service, we will take the temperature of all drivers, guides and assistants
We will take the temperature of every guest before the transfer
Guests will be asked to wear a mask during the transfer
A transparent thermoplastic will separate guests and driver
Guests will be asked to wash/disinfect their hands before getting into the vehicle. A foot bath will be available to disinfect shoes
All luggage will be disinfected before being put into the van
There will be one free seat between every passenger (the capacity of the vehicles will be decreased)
In case a traveler experiences symptoms of COVID-19, EcoCamp will organize the transfer to a care center following a strict protocol
Arrival at EcoCamp
- A host will welcome guests upon arrival, providing them with complete information regarding the measures and procedures put in place for a pleasant, safe stay
- A disinfectant carpet and hand sanitizer will be available at the Welcome Dome
- Individual kits including masks, gloves and a sanitizer will be available for every guest
- All luggage will be disinfected before heading to the domes
- There will be separate areas for check-in and check-out
Restaurant, Bar and Community Domes
- Disinfectant carpets will be at the entrance of the Community Domes, Yoga Dome and OVO massage room
- Entrance and Exit will be separated
- Traditional buffet service will be limited. Whenever available it will be served by the Community Domes team members with the use of personal protection items. Utensils will be frequently washed and replaced
- Items available on the tables will be limited to allow the effective disinfection before every new group, including condiments, cutlery, glasses, cups and napkins
- The organization of the tables will ensure social distancing in the domes
- Tables will be allocated as per a system of reservations
- There will be a meal schedule to prevent a build-up of people at the entrance
- Items of common use (such as salt shaker, oil dispenser and cruet) will be eliminated
- The Bar Dome will have a limited capacity
- The room capacity will be reduced to respect the guidelines of social distancing
- Domes will be cleaned after every check-out. Domes will only be cleaned during the guests’ stay upon request
- Standard Domes will not be shared between people of different groups
- There will be social distancing during the excursions, respecting the minimum distance of two meters between every person
- The size of the groups cannot exceed 12 people
- The use of masks is highly recommended during the excursions, especially during the pauses
- On multi-day treks, the overnight stays in tents (campsites) will be recommended over the stay in refuges/shared rooms
- There will be a temperature check for everyone who requests a massage
- Both the massage therapist and the guest will have to use a mask
- Guests will be asked to take a shower before every massage
- The massage therapist will indicate the guest where to leave the personal items without having to touch them
- All items and surfaces will be cleaned/disinfected after every massage or treatment
- Yoga classes will be limited to seven people to ensure social distancing
- Shifts and distribution of team members will be organized to avoid close contacts between the employees and to lower the risk of contagion
- Communal areas will be cleaned after every use
- Meals will be limited to 10 people at one time to maximize social distancing between team members
- Every team member will be trained with the updated protocols and guidelines related to COVID 19
- The use of masks will be compulsory in all common areas
These were the main health and safety guidelines in the context of the COVID 19 disease. EcoCamp follows the guidelines of the Adventure Travel Trade Association you can read here.
Also, other specific measures have been set – like the management of people showing symptoms of COVID 19. Feel free to contact us if you want to get more information regarding our guidelines and protocols. Information regarding the evolution of the situation will also be updated through our Facebook page.
Be sure the security and wellbeing of everyone is a lifelong commitment for EcoCamp, that we are reconfirming today more than ever. The information you have been reading may be updated according to the information we receive from the ministry of health and other entities.
See you soon in Patagonia!