A New Adventure – The Gradual Reopening
Stay at Home orders are beginning to loosen, and States across the Country have gradually started the process of reopening. Certain non-essential businesses can operate with limited capacity while adhering to health and safety guidelines and recommendations. While the decrease in restrictions represents a step towards normalcy in our lives, there are still many questions about our return to work, dining out, and outdoor recreation.
Wellness Concerns and the Benefits of Outdoor Activity
There can be many potential effects on the emotional health and well-being of many caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Living in isolation, dramatic changes to our daily lives, potential financial hardships, and concerns regarding our personal physical health and the physical health of our loved ones, can lead to anxiety, depression, and other concerning emotional health issues (1). Staying physically active in the outdoors is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind well (2). Participating in outdoor activities can help us relax and relieve stress while enjoying nature, and the sunlight, fresh air, and views it offers us. In addition to the physical health and wellness benefits, participating in outdoor physical activity also provides opportunities to safely connect with others through shared experiences; of course, from appropriate social distances (2). The COVID-19 Stay at Home order has led to a personal disconnect for many; most, if not all of our in-person conversations and interactions being been replaced by texts, calls, emails, and Zoom Meetings.
COVID-19 is spread person to person from coughing or sneezing. The virus-carrying airborne droplets can remain in the air or on surfaces even after the infected person is no longer near (5); however, a recent study suggests that transmissions of the novel coronavirus from outdoor environments are very rare; stating that of the 318 COVID-19 outbreaks studied, only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment was identified, involving only two cases (3,4). To Adventure or Not To Adventure – that is STILL the question!
Safe Outdoor Recreation – How and Where?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with others, covering nose and mouth when around others, always cover coughs and sneezes, and frequent disinfection of frequently touched surfaces daily as means to protect yourself and others from the novel coronavirus (6). Frank Esper, MD, from the Center for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic, adds that it is important to avoid parks and other outdoor recreation areas that are overcrowded and that the six foot social distancing rule pretty much applies for everyone in every situation (7).
We take safety seriously at Empower Adventures; our entire adventure operation is driven by our guiding principles; 100% Safe, 100% of the Time and Exceptional Customer Services! Keeping our visitors and guides safe while providing exceptional services does not just involve safety gear and time “in the tree-tops” on the adventure course – at Empower Adventures, those principles are all-encompassing. Our Team has worked diligently in preparing for the reopening of our adventure park locations in Florida, Virginia, and Connecticut and we cannot wait to provide family-friendly adventure fun for all in our communities.
Wondering where you can safely participate in outdoor recreation? Empower Adventures has your back. We have implemented additional protocols at our adventure parks to in the spirit of the Safety and Exceptional Services for our visitors and team members, including:
- Social distancing on the ground and on the platforms
- No shared “community” devices – all waivers and photos are digital, and both can be accessed via personal mobile devices
- Face coverings for all guests, guides, and employees
- Extra sanitization measures for all adventure gear and hand sanitizer for all
- Gear will be sanitized and quarantined for 36 hours after each use
- Temperature checks for all employees at shift start and for all guests upon arrival
- Decreased tour sizes and only 2 different “parties” or reservations per tour
- Reduced number of tours per day to ensure that only one tour is on site at a time
- Disposable gloves available for guests who want them