COVID-19 – FAQ’s
We understand that you will have many questions and concerns regards the current outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its spread around the world. This situation is changing on a daily basis but please be assured that we are monitoring the situation closely and are in contact with our local teams and airlines, as well as monitoring Public Health England, the WHO (World Health Organisation) and the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office). To keep up to date on these details too, you can follow the below links:
Coronavirus in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Travel restriction to individual countries: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
International - The World Health
In addition to above we have added some further information below based around some common FAQ’s we feel all participants due to travel with us in the future will have. These are broken down into 3 sections – cancellation (by ourselves or yourself), insurance, and protection against COVID-19.
What if your challenge can’t run due to COVID-19 (from the end of March until the end of July 2020)?
If we are unable to run your challenge due to FCO advice or because it becomes unviable to run due to safety concerns then you will be offered one of the choices below:
- We will transfer your place on to another challenge in either 2020 or 2021 – this can be the same challenge or a completely new destination. If the challenge you transfer on to has a higher registration fee, we will also waive the difference in the registration fee.
- If at that time you are unsure of which challenge you want to transfer to, we will issue you with a Refund Credit Note. This Refund Credit Note can be used to book another challenge at a later date and, in the meantime, it is protected by ATOL/Financial Protection Insurance. The Refund Credit Note will last until 31st July 2020. If at that time you still haven’t decided on your new challenge, we will issue a cash refund.
What if I postpone my challenge or transfer to a new one that is also affected?
If you move on to another challenge later in the year or next year, and we still find ourselves in a position where we cannot operate the challenge due to Covid-19 or any other reason, we will offer you the same options as above; to transfer, to change to a new challenge or to receive a Credit Note Refund.
If we have to, when will GAC make the decision to cancel your challenge?
Currently we have many participants, on lots of challenges across 2020 and 2021. We hope you can appreciate that we are prioritising groups departing imminently and have to work through challenges in date order. We are expecting travel restrictions to be lifted and over the coming weeks or month and hopefully there will be more clarity.
We want to avoid cancelling challenges unless it is absolutely necessary and we don’t have a set timescale for making a decision, it is likely to be approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. The advice that is in place today, could be lifted shortly or new advice added. The current environment is very changeable and where we can still operate your challenge we will do so.
If at approximately 3-4 weeks before departure the advice was still not to travel, we would be in touch to discuss your options further.
If you are participating in a UK challenge then we are likely to make this decision approximately 2 – 3 weeks before departure.
What happens if I want to cancel my challenge?
If we haven’t cancelled your challenge then our standard terms and conditions would apply. The registration fee you paid would be non-refundable in this instance, any other challenge costs you may have paid would be refunded in line with the standard cancellation terms shown in our booking conditions here.
However, we completely appreciate our participants will have concerns if they are on a challenge that is due to depart over the next couple of months. With this in mind, we are offering all participants booked on an overseas challenge that is due to depart up until the end of June a free transfer to the same challenge but on a different date either later on in 2020 or 2021, or a completely new challenge of your choice.
If you are booked on an overseas challenge later on in 2020 then our advice would be to hold off making a decision at this point. We appreciate that all of us have never experienced times like this, but as mentioned previously we are expecting the current travel advice to change, that life will start to slowly return to normal over the coming months and we have been given no indication to alter our travel plans for later on in 2020. However, we do understand that you may want to postpone until 2021 and if this is the case then that isn’t a problem. In this instance our normal transfer fee applies, £60 plus VAT (£72.00 in total).
If you are booked on a UK challenge then as with above, we are continuing our challenge preparation plans as normal. We don’t have any UK challenges departing until mid-June and whilst currently all of the UK are doing the right thing for everyone by staying indoors, we expect this advice to have been lifted in plenty of time. If you do want to transfer your place to a later date then our normal transfer fee applies, £30 plus VAT (£36 in total).
Do I still need to pay the challenge invoice on time?
Unless we have informed you otherwise, we will be continuing with our plans to deliver your challenge and if you have received a reminder invoice, please continue to pay as normal and by the due date shown on the invoice.
As mentioned above, if we find we can’t operate your challenge then you will have the option to transfer to a new date, a new destination or receive a refund.
What if I have booked on a ground only basis and have booked my own flights?
If you have booked as a ground only participant, you are responsible for your international travel arrangements to and from the destination country. If your challenge is cancelled, you will need to liaise with your airline over any changes that need to be made. If official travel advice is given against travel to that country, or the destination country refuses to accept flights from the UK, the airline is likely to be flexible over changes to dates and routes.
If, however, you cancel of your own accord, despite there being no advice against travel to the destination country, the airline is likely to be less flexible. Each airline will have different policies, but you must discuss the situation with them to see what they can and cannot do.
My fundraising is being impacted by not being able to raise the minimum sponsorship?
In the first instance we would strongly recommend you speak to your charity about any concerns you have – as they may be able to offer some advice or help. We are able to offer two options:
- In agreement with your chosen charity you are able to change payment option and self-fund. This means you pay the cost of your challenge yourself and you have no minimum sponsorship target, you still send sponsorship money to your charity as you raise it.
- You can transfer your place to a challenge in the future, either later in 2020 or 2021 which will give you more time to raise the minimum sponsorship. Transfer costs with this option are £60 plus VAT (£72.00 in total) for an overseas challenge and £30 plus VAT (£36.00 in total) for a UK challenge.
What if I am a participant on a bespoke charity or corporate challenge?
We are in regular contact with our charity and corporate partners and are giving updates as required. We would ask that you contact the charity or corporate partner in the first instance, however the advice given above and below will still be relevant.
Is my travel insurance policy likely to cover me if I am affected by Covid-19?
Every travel insurance policy is different. You must read your policy wording carefully, and contact your insurer if you have any questions or concerns. You should also travel with copies of your travel insurance documents. The ultimate responsibility for having the correct and adequate coverage is your own. We always recommend bringing a contingency fund for emergencies that may arise.
Travel insurance companies are updating their policies due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. If you organised travel insurance at the time of booking (and this was before the COVID-19 outbreak) which we always strongly recommend as per our website and welcome pack then you should be covered for certain elements. However, you do need to speak to your travel insurance provider to fully confirm if this is the case.
If you are still to take out travel insurance then it is very unlikely that you will get any cover for Coronavirus (COVID-19). What we will say in respect of Travel Insurance in general, is that you will never get cover for every possible eventuality or conceivable risk, therefore we always recommend that you read your policy in full to ensure you are happy with the level of cover being provided.
If you have taken out a travel insurance policy through our affiliate partner Campbell Irvine please use the link below to get an update on any changes to the travel insurance policy that they offer
Protection against COVID-19.
What precautions are airlines / airports, ferry terminals, train stations taking to prevent the spread of infection?
Each and every airline differs, but you will find that most are taking hygiene to new levels including but not limited to:
- Enhanced cleaning processes - surfaces can harbour the virus, so janitorial staff at airports across the country are cleaning more frequently and paying special attention to disinfecting high-touch areas like handrails, elevator buttons, door handles, counter tops and food court areas. Planes will also undergo enhanced cleaning, according to multiple airlines including disinfecting surfaces after each flight.
- Hand sanitizer everywhere - passengers are more likely to see hand sanitizer on ticket counters, at boarding gates, customer service desks, baggage service offices and lounges. Airlines are setting up their own hand sanitizer dispensers at places like check-in counters and gates in addition to the ones the airports are installing, and on planes too.
- Air quality – many airlines have filtration systems for a cabin free of airborne contaminates
All countries are playing their part in helping to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, so with this in mind, we do expect you will notice some differences at both UK and in-country airports, ferry terminals, Eurostar Terminals and any border crossing – this is likely to include more health officials asking questions, health screening, submitting additional written information covering areas such as your health, both recently and in general and also any other countries visited in recent weeks.
How is the spread and containment of COVID-19 being managed in my destination?
In all of our destination countries, we are working closely with our ground teams are monitoring responses to the coronavirus outbreak regularly. The key things to be aware of are:
- Our ground teams and leaders on all challenges are following and implementing all of the World Health Organization recommendations for infection prevention.
- Ground teams and leaders on all challenges are informed of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and the safety precautions required to prevent transmission of the disease. Staff and participants will be assisted in isolation and seeking medical attention where necessary.
- Whilst we always encourage high levels of hygiene from our participants to prevent against the spread of illness, there will be a lot more emphasis on personal hygiene and we ask that everyone takes responsibility by being extra vigilant and maintain extremely high hand and personal hygiene standards. This includes hand washing with soap & water frequently and where not available, use alcohol-based hand cleansers. Keep towels clean and wash as often as you can. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing - use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully. Always wash hands or sanitize immediately. Avoid sharing water bottles and make sure you speak to your Challenge Leader if you feel unwell at any time.
- We increase the frequency of thorough cleaning and disinfectant procedures across transport, equipment, activities, dining and housekeeping in all locations.
- All our drivers and ground staff are careful to avoid handshaking, hugging, touching their faces, eyes and nose, and are frequently washing their hands, and reporting any suspicion of illness for immediate action to be taken.
- All our participants are advised that if they develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, to immediately seek medical advice, and we will assist with facilitating medical care as necessary.
We also advise the following:
- No handshakes, hugs or kisses
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away
- Wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) more often than usual and especially after using the toilet and before and after eating food– use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
The use of face masks is NOT recommended for the general public, as there is no evidence of benefit outside healthcare environments. However, it is likely that you will see people wearing face masks - please don’t be alarmed as this is purely a precautionary measure and personal choice taken by some individuals.
What happens if someone in my group show symptoms whilst on the challenge, or the group gets infected?
If you or another member of your group displays symptoms of COVID-19 we will work with our leaders and local team to ensure that you and the rest of your group are safe. This would likely involve the affected participant being isolated from the group and transferred to a medical facility to receive the appropriate treatment, and if necessary, the cancellation of the rest of the trip.
If you suspect you are ill on a challenge, or if you believe that you have come into contact with a known COVID-19 case, we advise the following steps:
- Stay indoors if possible and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu.
- Call your GAC leader to inform them of your unwellness.
- Call your travel insurance company to discuss what you should do.
- Follow local public health guidance (if available)
What happens if I am put into quarantine in my challenge destination and who will cover the cost of this?
Travel insurers may not cover the costs of medical expenses incurred whilst choosing to travel in a country known to have a coronavirus risk. You must check your travel insurance policy to see whether you are covered – as mentioned above this may depend on when you purchased the policy.
We always recommend bringing a contingency fund for emergencies for circumstances such as this.
Whilst we will do our best to assist you in coordinating with our team on the ground, medical facilities, and other partners, with deep regret we cannot cover costs associated with being quarantined in-country – typically the local authorities will be organising this
A message from GAC to you…
Undoubtedly this is a turbulent time for the travel industry but the outbreak will end and the travel market will bounce back… We always do!
Our final word, is that at this moment our thoughts are with you our amazing participants, our fantastic charity and corporate clients and our fabulous local ground teams and airlines who help us deliver amazing challenges all over the world.
We hope you all stay safe, be sensible, follow advice given, remain calm and most of all keep a positive outlook until the outbreak ends.
If you do have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Customer Care team on 01244 676454 or by email email@example.com