COVID-19 Guidelines

May 27, 2021 update

The BC government has updated their COVID-19 restrictions to allow for small group activities both outdoors and indoors, so the club will continue to allow limited trips. Please keep trips to a maximum of 10 participants, and ensure that they remain within the Vancouver Coastal/Fraser Health Region. In particular, self-propelled and transit-accessible activities are still encouraged! Please see the club’s detailed COVID-19 guidelines for further information for trip leaders and participants.

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

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.


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 remains closed although trip leaders can request gear for their trip participants by emailing [email protected]
  • 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
  • Keep trips local – this means staying within the Vancouver/Fraser Health Authority according to current restrictions. Also be aware of First Nations’ land and COVID closures within the local area.

Permitted Activities 

Limited 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
    • Maximum 10 people (trip leaders can also decide on a lower cutoff for their trips)
  • Carpooling is now allowed for up to 4 people in a car, masks required - self-propelled or transit-accessible trips still encouraged whenever possible
  • Overnight trip guidelines
    • Cooking groups only within a household – try to cook alone
    • Tent share only within a household
    • Space out for camping
  • Socially distance (2m apart) throughout the day and particularly when setting up camp/eating lunch/snack breaks/etc.
  • Please wear a mask unless consuming food or drink.

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

  • Please consider helping protect search and rescue and take less risk than you normally would
  • Try to choose trails, routes and destinations that can easily accommodate physical distancing and are close to home
  • Allow for extra time throughout your trip / event, especially during snack and lunch breaks, for thorough safe hygiene practices (remind your trip participants to pack hand sanitizer, toilet paper, soap, gloves and potentially a mask)
  • Do not plan a trip in any closed recreation sites or parks:

Trip leader pretrip guidelines

  • Recommend pre-trip meetings online
  • The trip leader has the right to decline any sign up requests
  • Plan trips that are within local health authority
  • 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
    • 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
  • Maintain at least 2m distance from trip participants and other trail users at all times, with exception to same household members and groups of exclusive non-household members (exclusive “social circle”)
  • 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 info[email protected] and follow the BC CDC’s instructions.

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