Updated 17 September 2020 by Richelle Olsen
The Victorian government has revised the restrictions that were brought in to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria. The full details can be seen here: https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-victoria
Some national parks will be open – check park status before going on a trip.
Escaping Your Comfort Zone has suspended hikes across Melbourne Metro locations. Regional area hikes across Victoria may go ahead, in a stripped back manner.
There will be reduced leaders, organising reduced capacity hikes.
Hike capacity will be at the discretion of the leaders, and will frequently be less than 10.
Hikes may be in less popular locations to avoid big crowds when certain parks reopen.
Rules for attending hikes during this COVID-19 period
- All participants are required to wear a mask/face covering that fits correctly. Leaders have been directed to minimise hikes with hills, and ensure slow pace to reduce the huff and puff. However, if you find some sections of the hike make you huffy and puffy, you may temporarily remove the mask for that section, provided you are socially distanced of 1.5m (preferably more), and can put the mask back on when passing other hikers. Full DHHS mask details are here.
- All participants must adhere to the 1.5m social distancing rule, to keep everyone safe
- You may only attend a maximum of 1 hike per week (unless there is space on a hike 24hrs beforehand, then you may RSVP to an additional hike)
- For the current time, due to capacity restrictions, we ask that you do not bring children over 1 year old, as they are included in the capacity numbers. If you need to bring small children, and there is space on a hike, contact your leader to see if this is possible
- DO NOT put pressure on leaders to increase capacity on a hike. These are challenging times for everyone, and some leaders may only feel comfortable with 4-5 people
- RSVP to a hike only if you are 100% certain you are attending. Remember that if you say you are coming, then don’t attend, someone else misses out.
- Do not carpool
- At narrow sections of tracks respect other users and take turns to move through these sections.
- If you are in a high-risk category consider carefully if you wish to be exposed to infection risks from others, even outdoors, and with special measures in place. Some people may have an asymptomatic infection.
- Cough into your elbow.
- Scale back ambition – undertake activities well within your ability to reduce the small risk of an accident, which would put emergency services at risk of transmission if a rescue is needed.
- Assume the virus is resilient outdoors. In particular, maintain hand hygiene. Avoid touching shared surfaces and wear gloves. Use alcohol gel/wipes after contacting any surfaces (e.g. gates, fences or benches).
- Do not share personal items on a walk. This includes water, food, sunscreen, lip balm, hats etc.
Stay at home if you live in any of the areas assigned a Stay at Home order, listed at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19
Stay at home if you are showing ANY of the following symptoms: a fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (e.g. night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell), OR new onset headache, myalgia, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Stay at home if if you have had contact with someone suspected to be infected with COVID-19.
Leaders have the right to ask you to not participate if you are showing symptoms.
Enjoy nature and walking in the bush together but most importantly keep yourself and others safe.