Dear Soulfit Adventures Tribe,
With the COVID-19 -coronavirus dominating the headlines I wanted to reach out to let you know my thoughts on the situation and attempt to assuage any concerns you may have. Like you I have been watching closely to determine what impact the new virus means for our families, friends, and businesses.
From my perspective, I am committed to running all of my retreats scheduled in 2020, but at the same time appreciate that the situation is changing daily. None of us has a crystal ball but I think we are all pining for a return to normal, or are open to a ‘new’ normal that comes from dealing with the fallout constructively, as opposed to panic.
The news over the last few days that the Italian government has signed a decree to quarantine Italy until 3 April, has marked a significant escalation in the global response to the spread and they should be lauded for taking this step. Extraordinary measures are clearly required to bring the crisis to a head.
My first European retreat is Pedal. Stretch. Breathe. Tuscany that starts on 30 May in Lucca, and I have been focussed on working out a contingency strategy if the need arises. In this regard I have been:
Creating new route options for bypassing crowded areas that we cycle through, if required.
Putting in place clear protocols on retreat to reduce the risk of contamination.
Revisiting my risk assessment strategies in terms of dealing with illness on retreat and the emergency procedures I have in place.
Researching the information available from health authorities about COVID-19 and keeping abreast of updates from governments, airlines, and insurance companies.
As it stands Pedal. Stretch. Breathe. Tuscany 30 May to 6 June is a guaranteed departure, and I would like to thank all my guests that I have spoken to recently who have confirmed their participation at this time. This allows me to hold firm with my plan to run the retreat and I am very grateful for the faith shown in the face of this health emergency. For all the hysteria that we are seeing in the media, the optimism and support offered in those conversations was humbling.
That said the situation is changing on a daily basis and whilst I am very much hoping for the best it is also pertinent that I prepare for the worst. It’s great to read that the infection rates in China have dropped and a change of season in the Northern Hemisphere will hopefully reduce the spread further.
Without making light of the seriousness we have lived through SARS, EBOLA, Mad Cow and Swine Flu to name just a few. This latest scare will play out in time and better times lie ahead. From the conversations I’ve had though the risk of infection is secondary to concerns related to quarantine and not being able to get home. My hope is that those measures will have been rescinded by the time the retreat runs at the end of May but obviously that is out of my hands.
I invite you to read the updated Terms of Service but also be aware that I wish to offer flexibility around the current sense of uncertainly, and I will review the situation after the quarantine in Italy concludes on 3 April. If at that time the situation does not look to have improved, the following terms will apply:
Guests on Pedal. Stretch. Breathe. Tuscany commencing on 30 May are able to transfer monies paid to any other European retreat on the schedule running within 12 months from the start of the retreat. The only penalties incurred will be any non-refundable payments Soulfit Adventures has paid to suppliers. No admin fees will be applicable as charges.
If I am forced to cancel the retreat, I will transfer 100% of any retreat monies to another Soulfit Adventures European retreat of your choice in within 12 months of the start of the retreat.
On a practical level, I think the measures I have drawn up for the upcoming retreat and the nature of my small groups, as well as the fact that we are based outside of town in a private residence, mitigates many of the risks associated with spreading this virus. I am also determined to do everything I can to help my Italian friends through this challenging time as I are well aware of the impact it has had on their economy already.
At this point, it feels like I need to take some time to see how the situation will play out and hopefully my revised terms provide both reassurance and a practical approach in this context. If you are still to book flights, I don’t imagine you’ll miss out too much by waiting as flight prices will likely be only going down in the coming weeks! My ‘glass half full’ side also believes that the upcoming tours will benefit from fewer crowds and that can only be a good thing 😊.
And for now, it is important to keep abreast of the information from trusted sources and not social and tabloid media, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)- https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/ – and World Health Organisation are a good place to start – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
I hope this position doesn’t come across as making light of this serious situation but rather offers a practical approach for those booked on the 30 May retreat. This situation is very much top of mind for me, as well as yourselves, so I invite anyone who wishes to have a chat with me to send me an email to email@example.com to arrange a time, or call me on the number below. Please do not hesitate to reach out anytime.
Here’s hoping that this situation will calm down sooner rather than later and we can all go back to doing what we enjoy most, riding our bikes and practicing yoga in amazing places!
Until then, stay healthy, wash your hands regularly and kindest regards to you all.
Founder & Director at Soulfit Adventures
P +61 407 788 600