Common Questions About COVID-19 & How We’re Handling This Ever-Changing Time
Thank you all for your support of AzRA and your stewardship of and love for Grand Canyon. We wanted to update you with what we know currently, as well as what we’ve been doing for our guests. As many of you have heard, Grand Canyon National Park closed the river to all river trips until June 13, 2020. You can see the official Press Release at https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/news/grca-modify-river-ops-for-health-guidance-03-20-2020.htm.
What we offered for trips until June 13, 2020:
- Transferring to a trip later in the current season or to an adventure in 2021 or 2022. This is dependent on the availability of spaces. We will honor the 2020 rate if you transfer all funds to a future trip.
- Issuing a gift certificate which can be used on a trip with us in 2020, 2021 or 2022. If you are unable to get on your preferred trip, we will book you on a later trip and waitlist you for your desired trip. Again, we’ll honor the 2020 rates if you go this route, regardless of whether you book for 2020, 2021 or 2022.
- Refunding the full amount of your trip only in the event you cannot do any of the above. If you choose this option and wish to join a river trip in the future, you will not receive any of the above discounts or pre-booking advantages.
We will be reevaluating each trip 30 days prior to the trip start to begin the process of determining whether the trip will run. We may not be able to make a final decision until a week or two prior to the trip; we have determined that most domestic travelers will be able to have time to pack and rebook flights in this narrower time frame. If we cancel the trip, the above options will be applied. If the National Park Service extends the closure of Grand Canyon National Park’s river corridor prior to 30 days before your trip, we will notify you as soon as we are able.
At this time, if you wish to cancel your trip scheduled after June 13, our standard cancellation policies apply. If you have any questions please let us know, and we are happy to answer as many as possible.
Some common questions we’re receiving, and their answers:
- Are we still running trips? We are currently planning to run trips unless Grand Canyon National Park cancels them. As of now, we cannot run any of our trips until after May 21. We are waiting on further information from Grand Canyon National Park regarding trips beyond May 21. The National Park Service has committed to reanalyze the closure on a weekly basis beginning a month prior. As soon as we are made aware of additional closures, we will inform the impacted trip guests. We will endeavor to make these determinations 30 days prior; however, the dynamic nature of the pandemic and recommendations around travel may make it difficult to do so. We appreciate your understanding and patience.
- Can I postpone making my final payment? We are still requesting you make your final payment on time. If your trip is canceled down the road, we will offer you the options above, so there is no risk in making that final payment on time. If you have concerns about making your final payment, contact us directly at 800-786-7238 or email@example.com.
- If the trip is canceled, what happens then? See above for all options we will allow if your trip is canceled.
- When will we know if the trip is canceled? As soon as we hear from Grand Canyon National Park Service on their decision to keep the river closed or to reopen it, we will let all directly affected guests know as soon as possible. If Grand Canyon National Park doesn’t provide us more insight on the status of river trips, it’s a waiting game for all of us. If they have told us we can launch, please see our guidelines on how we’ll make decisions on our original COVID-19 blog under the March 17, 2020 update, and as explained above.
- What are we doing to keep people safe once we’re on the river? We always maintain a very clean and sanitary space when in bottom of Grand Canyon. Cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation are very important to us on every single trip. We will continue to require every person to wash their hands before touching any food or anything in the kitchen. If anyone returns for more food or beverage, we require them to wash their hands before going back for more. We have three hand wash stations at each camp: one in the kitchen, and one at each groover location (of which there are two on every trip except on one boat motor trips). In addition to that, we clean the kitchen every day with very hot soapy water, followed by a bleach rinse, and let all items air dry. We clean the bathroom items with anti-bacterial products before loading them onto the rafts each day, as well. If someone were to get ill (which happens on trips every year, whether there is a pandemic occurring or not), we physically separate the infected person(s) by helping them to camp away from others, serving all their food to them and disinfecting all items the person(s) encountered. If their symptoms worsen, we will consult with local agencies about possible evacuation. Those local agencies make the final decision on whether someone is evacuated out of the Canyon or not.
- What does AzRA’s financial future look like? Our owners, Alexandra and Fred Thevenin, have made it a standard practice not to spend your trip monies until the trip is actually on the water. AzRA does not recognize any trip revenue until the trip has launched. We lead our company with integrity, and part of that integrity is to take care of your money.
We appreciate your concerns and the risks regarding taking an adventure under these strained times. We can only provide answers for what we know at this time, and we appreciate your patience as we navigate these difficult waters. We do not know what the virus will do moving forward, but we will continue to do our best to provide excellent customer service, give accurate information and do what is best for you and for our staff. We will continue to follow the CDC’s and National Park Service’s recommendations. We hope to share the wonders of the Canyon with you all very soon. Please stay safe and healthy!
If azraft runs a trip later this year, how will azraft handle a person showing symptoms after the start of a trip? Your sanitation system will not stop this virus from spreading through the group. What is Azrafts plan to address this scenario?
We have a feeling that this is exactly why Grand Canyon National Park has decided to shut down the river corridor for now–they’re trying to figure out exactly what that whole process looks like. We are also working internally to figure that out ourselves. So we do not have an official plan as of yet, but we’ll be sure to update this as soon as we do!
I want you to know that I am 100% confident in AsRa’s plan and procedures on the river. My worries are the getting there for me and other rafters. Airports, restrooms, security lines, airplanes, shuttle buses, transportation to hotel, hotel, restaurants . The chances are someone will be exposed to COVID and unknowingly bring that to the river where there is no medical assistance available.