Bike tours in 2021
Commitment to Guest and Staff Safety:
Although the Coronavirus pandemic is still with us, it is our intention to run all tours scheduled for 2021 unless local or national public health advisories dictate otherwise.
Gold Standard Cancellation Policies:
1) When we were forced cancel tours in 2020, and unlike some providers, we were fortunate to provide our guests the option of choosing between an immediate full refund or a full credit toward any future tour in the amount of fees paid. This has always been our approach for tours canceled by Carolina Tailwinds, and it continues to be so.
2) For cancellations by guests, our normal cancellation policy will apply in 2021. At this point, all of us are fully aware of the pandemic and the risks associated with it. Therefore, we are asking guests to take responsibility for their travel commitments going forward. Our cancellation policy has always been more lenient than industry standards and still is. Cancellation prior to 60 days prior to the tour start date entitles the guest to a full refund, less a $75 fee. Review our full cancellation policy here: https://www.carolinatailwinds.com/reservation-terms-and-conditions
Guests will be encouraged to investigate travel insurance options to protect their investment. You can find information on this topic at https://www.squaremouth.com/press-room/travel-insurance-coronavirus/
Travel in the age of COVID 19
The team at Carolina Tailwinds used some of our 2020 downtime working hard to prepare for the safe resumption of touring. We are READY TO ROLL with enhanced safety practices. They were put to the test on the handful of tours that we ran in the fall of 2020 and have been refined based on those experiences. We have addressed the following and are ready to implement these new ways to keep your tour both FUN and SAFE!
Sanitation and safety: Our focus has always been to present and maintain a professional, safe and clean experience. Nothing has changed in that regard. We are closely following the US Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) guidelines and recommendations on the steps we can take to help prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus. We are working with our excellent inn partners, caterers, restaurants, and our own staff to be sure we are ALL implementing these to our best ability.
We have acquired eco-friendly hospital grade disinfectant which the guide teams will use on support vehicles daily. High touch areas of our support vans and trailers will be sanitized continually throughout the day.
We have also procured and prepared individual guest sanitation “kits” so that each enrollee on arrival can have his/her own bottle of hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes for smart phones, bike bottle cleaner, etc. to help encourage a safe environment for everyone while on tour.
Our inn and catering partners are also working hard to be sure they are taking adequate precautions to protect guests in their environments. We all have the same goal of providing an awesome guest experience and the COVID 19 Coronavirus has not changed that priority.
For March to May of 2021, we are adding a staff member and a van to each tour to increase space in the van. More room! This policy may be extended further in the calendar if the pandemic is not contained by then.
We are also, where possible, adding routes to some itineraries to make "inn-to-inn" cycling more achievable to some riders. The longer options will still be available to those who want them.
As recommended by the CDC, face coverings will be required of all guests and guides whenever in the van, indoors, or in a position that does not allow for appropriate distancing from others. We recommend that guests bring their own stylish accessory to the tour, but we will have more available as well. No one wants to be an unintended spreader in an area in which COVID cases have been low!
Picnics and Snacks:
We have always received rave reviews on both our lunch selections and the wide variety throughout the week of snacks available to refuel you on your adventure! These will still be available, but we are changing our methods of serving lunch from buffet style to cafeteria style to reduce common touch surfaces such as serving utensils. Any guide serving lunch or handing our snacks will of course be masked and gloved. Abundant and delicious food will still be a hallmark of our tours!
Happy Hours and Meals:
We are working hard to keep the FUN FACTOR high – even in an age of social distancing. Group gatherings will be outdoors as much as possible, and we are working hard at securing, where possible, spaces where social distancing is easily possible. Take-out meals will be an option for anyone who prefers it. We are confident that the social aspect of bicycle touring will be very much intact, just with a little more space!
Again, while creating a safe and awesome guest experience is our primary focus, we also have attempted to be responsible stewards of the areas through which we travel. The CDC has some great guidance up on their site regarding domestic travel within the United States:
We will be trying to do our part to follow these recommendations. All guests will be instructed to stay home if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, especially fever and cough. While this should have been common sense even before this outbreak, we will be explicit about it going forward.
Current CDC guidelines recommend non-vaccinated individuals receive a negative test 1-3 days prior to travel. We are strongly encouraging guests to comply with this recommendation. You can find your closest testing site here: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=2ec47819f57c40598...
We also will conduct pre-arrival temperature checks and periodic checks while on tour to ensure the safety of fellow travelers, staff and those in the areas through which we travel. A temperature over 100.0 degrees will result in referral to medical care and testing. We will require any guest or guide experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 not participate in the remainder of the tour until a negative test result is obtained.
Please feel free to pick up the phone or send us an email to ask any questions about the above. We love talking about tour days and fun in the sun on grey days in winter! Until then, take care of yourselves, practice social distancing, and all the rest.
Wishing everyone sunshine, tailwinds and good health!
Anne & Greg Fleming
Carolina Tailwinds, Inc.