COVID-19 Guidelines

July 1, 2021 update

The BC government has now removed most COVID-19 restrictions for both indoor and outdoor activities. As such the club has removed most limits on trips as well. Masks remain recommended for carpooling but otherwise there are no longer group size limits or travel restrictions within Canada at this time.

Varsity Outdoor Club Trip guidelines COVID-19 (winter 2020 – summer 2021)

Phase 1: November 7th 2020 – March 17th 2021 – Club non-virtual trips not happening, huts and gear hours closed

Phase 2: March 17th, 2021 – Limited club trips can occur following the guidelines below, gear hours are closed except to trip leaders, and huts are closed.

Phase 3May 27, 2021 – Limited club trips can occur with carpooling as long as they follow the guidelines below.

Phase 4: July 1, 2021 – Most restrictions/recommendations have been lifted and trips are allowed to proceed without limitations.


These guidelines are based on our best judgment and combine the general advice of the provincial health officer and the guidelines from other outdoor groups including the BCMC, the FMCBC, and other leaders in BC’s outdoors industry.


  • VOC Huts – see guidelines here:
  • Regular clubroom and gear rental will be reopened this summer, for hours and more information email [email protected] and check
  • No trips in or through closed parks, areas or communities
  • No trips to Indigenous communities, territories and lands that are not open to visitors – do not enter unless invited to do so by Indigenous peoples
  • Follow the guidelines set out by BC health organizations and the BC government

Permitted Activities 

Normal club activities are now permitted as long as they follow the requirements set out in this policy document and are conducted in a safe manner that minimizes risks to participants and others. Help protect SAR members and reduce the risk of burdening hospitals with conservative choices, decisions and actions.

Carpooling and social distancing

  • Number of people on a trip – no limit (trip leaders can choose to set their own limit)
  • Carpooling is now allowed with mask wearing recommended – self-propelled or transit-accessible trips are still good for the environment and thus remain encouraged!
  • Overnight trip guidelines
    • Tent and food sharing within household recommended

Where do you stop and how often?

  • Bring coffee from home, meet at the trailhead
  • Avoid bathroom breaks in towns
  • Have a mask and gloves in case you do need to stop for some reason

Trip leader specific guidelines

Trip leader pretrip guidelines

  • Recommend pre-trip meetings online
  • The trip leader has the right to decline any sign up requests
  • At the pretrip meeting, ask your trip participants to try this survey:
    • Warn them if they have any symptoms they should not come on the trip
  • At the pretrip meeting, tell your trip participants specifically the gear required for your trip
  • Trip leaders who want to run a trip that requires somewhat specialized gear (e.g. ice axes, crampons, glacier ropes etc.) can put in a request to [email protected] for the gear they need, or go to the limited club hours (see for more information).
    • Please send this request with exact numbers after the pretrip meeting
    • If possible find basic gear (e.g. backpacks, sleeping mats etc.) by borrowing from friends

Gear sharing

  • As much as possible avoid sharing gear or supplies with non-household members or people outside your “social circle” (i.e. tents, food, etc.)
  • Quarantine any shared gear for:
    • Soft materials – up to 2 days
    • Hard materials – up to 3 days on stainless steel
      • After these times, any virus will be dead

Participant guidelines

  • Each person should have a “clean trip kit” containing hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and gloves – BC Parks
    • For trips without outhouses, bring container to pack out waste instead of gloves
  • No touching! No handshakes, hugs, fist or elbow bumping (instead share smiles and waves)
  • Practice safe hygiene when touching common surfaces or any shared gear
  • Be mindful that public restrooms and other facilities may not be available at trailheads; bring blue / wag bags as a backup
  • Practise ‘Leave No Trace’ and pack out what you bring in
  • Your trip leaders should give you a list of required gear for your trip. Make sure you bring everything required because sharing gear might not be possible. Ask your trip leader if you are unsure about any gear requirements.
  • You should not attend a trip if you answer yes to any of the questions found here:
  • If you become ill during or up to 14 days after a trip / event you must notify the VOC exec [email protected] and follow the BC CDC’s instructions.
  • Be respectful of others’ concerns and levels of risk tolerance (i.e. if someone wants to continue to wear a mask when in close proximity to others)

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