Coronavirus – Our Current Position – 17th March 2020

by Paul Kirtley

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is rapidly changing many aspects of the way we live our lives.

At Frontier Bushcraft, the health and wellbeing of our team and our customers is always a priority.

We are keeping abreast of current restrictions and guidance in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, which are changing on a daily basis. In particular. we listened very carefully to the UK Government advice given at the daily press conference on March 16th to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The visibility of what the circumstances might be in the spring and summer of 2020 are still very low. The UK government continues to be incredibly vague in its timeline projections for coronavirus and its knock-on effects. In particular, on March 16th, Prof Chris Whitty, the government's chief medical adviser, even when pressed by a journalist on how he sees this playing out, could do no better than "Quite a number of weeks".

So far the UK authorities have provided little solid guidance and zero support for small and medium-sized businesses to navigate our way through this period. Indeed, the UK Prime Minister's statements on March 16th, advising people to stay away from social venues such as pubs, clubs and restaurants is largely being interpreted as protecting insurance companies from the liabilities that would ensue if the government forced these businesses to close.

At present, then, it seems like we are all being encouraged to make our own decisions. We have to do our best to figure out a way forward on our own, based on what we know.

Currently, in terms of Frontier Bushcraft's ability to deliver our UK courses and the ability of anyone within the UK to travel to a course, nothing has changed. There are no areas of quarantine, public transport is still functioning, freedom of movement is as before, and despite what some of the media are reporting, the Prime Minister politely asking people not to go to the pub is not equivalent to a "lockdown".

At this stage, it is our intention to run our UK courses unless the UK government impose movement restrictions within the UK such that our instructors are prevented from travelling to our course venues. The other circumstance that may prevent us from running any given course is if the instructor is infected and needs to self-isolate.

Given what we are currently being told about coronavirus, we do not feel that the gathering of a small number of people outside, in the open air, relatively isolated from others, is a high-risk scenario. In fact, on balance, the risk of transmission seems lower than what many people face in their daily lives, going to the shops, being on public transport, taking kids to school and, for the many who cannot work from home, going to work.

To minimise the risk of someone who is already infected joining a course, we ask that if you feel at all unwell or have any of the widely-reported symptoms, then you should follow the advice of the authorities, including isolation, which also means you must not travel to a course. In these circumstances, let us know you are not coming and we will move you to another course date.

Given what we currently know about the virus and those who are most severely affected by the disease, we would advise those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus to postpone their course, and contact us to move to an alternative date. Please see Public Health England's guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults for details of specific medical conditions.

During any course or trip we will follow our usual, robust, tried-and-tested expedition camp hygiene protocols for hand washing, food preparation, latrines and water supply, which are always vital for the health of a group in an outdoor camp. We will also add extra sterilisation steps to our dish washing protocols.

Customers From Outside The U.K.

We appreciate that travel restrictions imposed by certain governments may make it difficult or, in some cases, impossible for some of our overseas customers to attend courses they have booked if the restrictions continue to be in place at the time of the course.

If travel restrictions imposed by national governments or flight cancellations by airlines prevent you from attending the course you have booked, you should contact your travel insurance company to seek compensation from them for any financial losses you may suffer (e.g. for cancelled flights, any accommodation costs and course fees).

In these circumstances, as a gesture of good will, we’d also be happy to move your course booking to next year.

2020 Overseas Trips

Current travel restrictions, if they remain in place, will prevent or disrupt our 2020 overseas trips. We have already been in contact with all participants on these trips, as well as our suppliers and providers on the ground, to look at alternative dates, should we be prevented from running these trips.

2021 UK Course Dates

We don’t usually post course dates for the next year onto this website until the summer before. So, under normal circumstances, we’d be adding 2021 dates in June or July this year. But we are now working hard to set dates on many of our courses for 2021, so we have the capacity to move you to another course if necessary.

A Further Point On Travel Insurance

Whether you are travelling to us from within the UK, or from outside the UK, it is worth checking what travel and holiday insurance cover you have. Even if you have not booked travel insurance specific to the course dates, many people have annual travel insurance as part of their banking or credit card packages. Some people have home insurance packages that also contain travel or holiday insurance.

Check what insurance you have and make full use of it. That’s what these polices are for. In particular, check for sections of the policy which detail travel disruption cover. For more information check out this useful Which? guide on Coronavirus: what it means for your travel insurance

Questions or Comments...

If you need any further information from us or have any questions or concerns, please let us know, either publicly in the comments below or by contacting us privately here. We will add further updates on the Frontier Bushcraft blog as the situation demands.

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Paul Kirtley is owner and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog as well as for various publications including Bushcraft & Survival Skills Magazine.

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian

Excellent post Paul, packed with top quality guidance and advice as usually. Fingers crossed all goes well for your business and others like yours over the coming months.

Best wishes.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Thank you Brian. Interesting times but we’ll do our best to navigate them.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Craig Longstaff

As an ex-clinician, EXCELLENT, COMMON SENSE APPROACH Paul & team. Glad you’ve not been affected by the illogical panic pandemic, which is & will do more harm than the actual CoronaVirus (which we’ve had for many years). Interesting comment regards linking BJ’s advice to indemnifying insurance companies from claims. As we know, BigGov is the sock puppet of the financial industry, we the people are irrelevant. Thanks for your common sense. I hope you your company & team/s weather this debacle, although it’s going to (deliberately) get much worse. Much respect.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Thanks Craig. Good to hear from you. Hope all is well.

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Stephen Lowe

Thanks Paul. A well considered response to the current situation. Hopefully restrictions will not have too much of an impact and I will continue to look forward to the course in August.

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Thanks Stephen. I hope we are returning to some semblance of normality by August. I look forward to seeing you then 🙂

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

Gordon Hamilton

Thanks for taking the time to put a statement together. Packed with common sense as I expected. I agree that the courses themselves are not hight risk so if transport is running I’ll be there.
Cheers
Gordon

Reply

Paul Kirtley

Hi Gordon, please see the more recent update:

Coronavirus – Postponment Of Forthcoming Courses And Trips – 21st March 2020

Warm regards,

Paul

Reply

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