PATC Response Plan and Guidance for Covid-19 Pandemic

Effective: March 16, 2020
Updated: March 21, 2020

PATC is committed to keeping everyone (including the general public, employees, volunteers, hikers and partners) as safe and healthy as possible through this very unsettled time. While we cannot predict how this pandemic will evolve within our community, we need to take precautions to do our part to keep our people safe and protect the public. Therefore, we have developed the following guidelines to remain in force until further notice. These guidelines apply to all PATC sponsored activities, including those undertaken by Chapters and Special Interest Sections. For any authorized activities, we urge everyone to practice enhanced attention to disinfection and social distancing protocols.

As the situation unfolds, these directives will be continually monitored and adjusted, as required. For the time being, an attempt will be made to keep access to the trails and cabins available for use by individuals or for small-group maintenance. We also suggest you monitor federal, state and local notices related to Covid-19. While we cannot list all those here, we are providing you the link to the Centers for Disease Control‘s website on the virus: CDC Guidelines.

General Guidelines

Any staff or volunteers who have reason to believe they may have been exposed to Covid-19 irrespective of whether they show any symptoms (this includes all those who return from international travel) or have any Covid-19 or other flu or common cold symptoms should not participate for a period of 14 days in any of the in-person authorized PATC activities or programs, or enter any PATC facilities, including cabins, shelters, trail centers or our headquarters building.

Some additional precautions volunteers and staff should take include:

  • Minimize carpooling to work locations.
    • While this is not ideal regarding environmental impacts, personal safety and health take priority.
  • Avoid sharing tools and equipment whenever possible.
  • Work in small groups.
    • While we do not prescribe an upper limit on the size of work groups or gatherings, we highly recommend you keep those small and take into consideration the health and demographic profile of participants to ensure you limit risk to those at relatively higher risk of spreading or contracting the disease.
  • See also guidance from ATC: for hikers and volunteers.

Those responsible for the operations included in this guidance may develop specific protocols as supplemental guidance, as needed. That supplemental guidance should be approved by the V.P. of Operations, who has general responsibility for operational and programmatic policy, before being issued. The general guidelines for each of the Club’s major programs and operations follow:

Trails and Shelters

  • As PATC does not own most of the trails and shelters, they remain open unless the authorities or owners decide to close them.
  • Trail and shelter maintenance may continue provided precautions are taken to limit the size of maintenance crews and to ensure social distancing and other safety precautions are taken to protect the crew members.
    • We recommend crews be limited to small groups.
    • Larger trail crew work, as well as all in-person training and other Club-sanctioned work trips will be suspended until further notice.
  • Access to the headquarters tool room requires advance coordination with the Staff Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • The Supervisor of Trails may authorize exemptions to these guidelines with the concurrence with the V.P. of Operations.

Cabins

  • [update 3/21/2020] The cabins are now closed. More information on the cabins webpage.
  • The cabin reservation desk at headquarters is closed.
  • Cabin maintainers may continue to perform their duties individually or in small groups. Other cabin group work trips and activities are suspended.
    The Supervisor of Facilities may authorize exemptions to these guidelines with the concurrence of the V.P. of Operations.
  • Bears Den and Blackburn Trail Centers are closed. For more information, see the detailed guidance for Blackburn and Bears Den.

Club Store

  • The Club store at headquarters is closed.
    • Maps, guidebooks and other materials available through the Club store will be limited to online only purchases and delivery through shipping.
    • Turnaround is likely to be delayed by several days from the normal, quick turnaround.
  • Volunteer activities related to the PATC store are suspended.
  • The Staff Director may authorize exemptions to these guidelines with the concurrence of the V.P. of Volunteerism.

Outreach

  • In-person outreach activities or participation in in-person outreach events are hereby suspended.
  • The Supervisor of Outreach may authorize exemptions to these guidelines with the concurrence of the V.P. of Volunteerism.

Hikes sponsored by the Club may take place provided they are organized to minimize contagion. Hike leaders and participants are encouraged to follow best practices.

Meetings

Effective immediately, in-person PATC-related meetings are discontinued. ExCom and Council regular or special meetings, as well as meetings of Chapters and Special Interest Sections, or other units of PATC will be scheduled and conducted using video conferencing or teleconferencing platforms. Participants may join either using their computers or smart phones, or by calling in on their telephone. Details and instructions will be provided prior to meetings. Meetings will be scheduled and arranged through the staff director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Headquarters

Effective Monday, March 16th, the PATC headquarters building in Vienna will be closed. Limited access for authorized staff or essential activities by Club members or volunteers will be arranged and scheduled on a case-by-case basis by contacting the staff director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Staff

Effective Monday, March 16th, we are instituting an organization-wide telecommuting policy for all staff. Staff should follow the general guidelines as stated above. The staff director will work with each employee to determine the feasibility of conducting most or all of their work remotely. If some work in the office is required, and staff is comfortable going into the office, we will arrange for staggered work time for individuals to work in the office to avoid simultaneous use of office space by more than one employee. Enhanced disinfection and cleaning protocol will be prescribed for all staff who use the HQ building.