Covid-19 Response

October 14, 2020

The Steering Committee has been closely monitoring the rising COVID-19 case counts and latest Public Health messages. We had hoped that we could consider the return of in-person, indoor activities at this point in the autumn, but due to the increase in cases and restrictions, we are temporarily stopping all in-person activities effective immediately. This means that only online activities will be approved going forward until the case counts decrease and Public Health guidelines are loosened.

This decision is not an easy one. Staying active, spending time with old and new friends, and being in community is especially important during this challenging time. Out & Out will continue to be a space for gathering together as an active community, but now it will be back to an online format. It is the prudent and responsible action to take at this time as it aligns with Public Health’s current public health measures and restrictions for limiting travel, which state:
“Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity.”

For more information about the most recent COVID-19 announcements and guidelines, please visit:

https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58767/ontario-implementing-additional-public-health-measures-in-toronto-ottawa-and-peel-region

We hope to return to in-person activities sometime soon. In the meantime, we ask for your support and for your time and creativity in hosting online activities. If you have questions or ideas for an online activity and would like feedback or help with planning it, please reach out to the Activities Subcommittee. You can reach the Activities team by sending an email to activities@outandout.ca.

Stay safe and be well,
Sarah Tranum, President
on behalf of the Out & Out Club Steering Committee

 

August 26, 2020

The Province of Ontario is in Stage 3 of the Reopen Ontario plan and the Out & Out Club is re-introducing some in-person activities. Community is important. Finding safe ways to meet and be together is part of that, however, it is critical to understand that it is not business as usual. We are moving forward very carefully to ensure that the Club follows the public health guidelines. Doing so requires the Club to instate new rules and processes during the pandemic for leading and attending Club activities. Members are still encouraged to lead online activities as this remains the safest way to meet and interact.

Please read the following message carefully to understand how Out & Out will be rolling out modified in-person activities.

Outdoor Activities ONLY

At this time, only activities that take place completely outside will be approved.

Why?

Being outdoors provides a safer environment. Also, with required masks and social distancing in indoor spaces, socializing with one another, which is a key part of any Club activity, is harder to do.

This is part of a phased-in approach to the return of in-person Club activities. The Steering Committee will reassess in the second week of October to determine if it is advisable to move to indoor activities. While cases of COVID-19 appear to be dropping, this stage of reopening is still relatively new, and it is possible we might see an increase in cases leading to a roll back. By this point in October we will hopefully have a better understanding of the impact of any possible upticks in COVID-19 cases. We can then make an informed decision on indoor activities as the weather cools.

Which activities are welcomed?

There are still many fun things to do. Socially distanced hiking, biking, walks, picnics (where there is no food sharing), roller blading, kayaking, canoeing, as well as discussions, book clubs, knitting, and other hobbies shared outside in a park are all welcomed. These are just a few examples. Members are encouraged to get creative and get social in a safe way!

Which activities are not welcomed?

  • No activities in people’s homes. Even if activities are held in backyards, passing through someone’s home, the need to use the washroom, or a change in weather can quickly turn an outdoor activity into an indoor one and make social distancing very difficult to maintain.
  • No dining activities, including eating/drinking on patios. Socially distancing inside and outside is not always well managed by restaurants, especially with larger groups. Changes in weather can quickly turn a patio meal or drink into an indoor one that can become uncomfortable and potentially unsafe for members. No potlucks or food sharing activities will be allowed, however, getting takeout food, coffee or ice cream and consuming outdoors together while maintaining 2 metres physical distance is permitted.
  • No carpooling. Being in a car with other members does not allow for proper social distancing as required by law. Drive on your own to an activity or better yet, lead and participate in activities that are easily accessible by foot or by bike.
  • If camping, no sharing of tents, trailers, yurts, cabins, cottages or other indoor structures. Again, being in the same space raises social distancing concerns and all members must take this seriously for personal safety and the safety of others.

Activity Participants of 10 or Less

At this time, the maximum number of members who can attend activities is 10.

Why?

This keeps the group size manageable for organizing outdoor activities. It is also a group size that makes contact tracing, if needed, easier to do.

No Guests Allowed

Only members in good standing who have signed the online Code of Conduct and the Waiver and Indemnity will be able to attend events.

Why?

In the effort to keep the membership safe and healthy and to protect the Club, it is mandated by the Club’s insurer and recommended by legal counsel that only those who have agreed to the Code of Conduct and the Waiver and Indemnity can attend Out & Out events and activities.

Registering for Activities and Taking Attendance are Mandatory

Members must RSVP for any activity they wish to attend. Activity leaders must confirm to members who RSVP if they may attend the event and take attendance to ensure that only registered members participate.

Why?

The reason is two-fold. First, the Club insurer and legal counsel have informed the Club that it must ensure that only those who have signed the Club Waiver and Indemnity may attend activities. Second, for contact tracing purposes, it is critical to track all people who attend Club activities in the event that an attending member tests positive for COVID-19.

What does this new RSVP process look like?

  • If you see an activity posted that you want to sign up for, email the activity leader listed on the posting by the registration deadline.
  • The activity leader will reply confirming if you are signed up or not for the activity.
  • At the activity, the leader will take attendance at the beginning to ensure that only those who have a confirmed RSVP for the activity are in attendance. Anyone who did not register will not be able to stay and participate in the activity. Additionally, no guests are permitted to attend a Club activity.
  • Activity leaders must send the names of all activity attendees to attendance@outandout.ca upon conclusion of the event (within 24 hours of activity taking place). This is mandatory.

Attending Activities is at Your Own Risk

All members attend activities at their own risk including the possibility of being exposed to COVID-19.

All members confirmed to attend an event should self-assess for COVID-19 exposure prior to attending. If you answer yes to any of the following statements, you should cancel your RSVP and NOT attend the activity.

  • I am currently experiencing any of these symptoms that are new and not related to seasonal allergies or pre-existing medical conditions diagnosed by a qualified healthcare provider: Fever (feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher); Chills, Cough that's new or worsening (continuous, more than usual); Barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing (croup); Shortness of breath (out of breath, unable to breathe deeply); Sore throat(not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions); Difficulty swallowing; Runny nose(not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions); Stuffy or congested nose(not related to seasonal allergies or other known causes or conditions); Lost sense of taste or smell; Pink eye(conjunctivitis); Headache that’s unusual or long lasting; Digestive issues like nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain (not related to other known causes or conditions); Muscle aches that are unusual or long lasting; Extreme tiredness that is unusual (fatigue, lack of energy); Falling down often; or sluggishness or lack of appetite.
  • I have travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days (This does not include essential workers who cross the Canada-US border regularly).
  • I have been asked to self-isolate (stay at home) by a doctor, health care provider, or public health unit in the last 14 days.
  • In the last 14 days, I have either: tested positive for COVID-19, or been in close physical contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID-19. Close physical contact means: being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or are living in the same home.
  • In the last 14 days, I have been in close physical contact with a person who either: is currently sick with new COVID-19 symptoms (like a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing)? or returned from outside Canada in the last 2 weeks with new COVID-19 symptoms (like a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing)? Close physical contact means: being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or are living in the same home.

When you attend an event, ensure you:

  • bring appropriate personal protective equipment (such as mask, gloves, hand sanitizer).
  • observe physical distancing of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles.
  • do not share food or equipment.

Stay informed and up-to-date on changing information regarding COVID-19.

For more information about the stages of the Reopening Ontario plan, visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages#section-3

For more information about COVID-19 and how to keep yourself and others safe, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

Activity Leaders Can Ask Non-Complying Members to Leave an Activity

If a member attending an activity does not adhere to health and safety protocols outlined by the Club and by the activity leader (social distancing, etc.), an activity leader has the authority to ask the member to leave the activity.

Why?

Members must adhere to health and safety rules and processes. This is part of the Code of Conduct signed by all members in good standing. Failure to follow these health and safety measures can result in a suspended or revoked membership.

Next Steps and Thank you

The return of modified in-person activities will resume on August 27, 2020. We look forward to seeing Club members in person again in a safe and responsible manner. In the meantime, we would like to thank the many members who led activities online during the lockdown and who continue to do so. Thank you for giving your time, sharing your creativity, and for creating a virtual space for community during a very challenging time for all of us!

It is also important to recognize the work of the Steering Committee and the other member volunteers who help with administering the Club. The process of reintroducing in-person activities requires careful planning and additional time and effort from these volunteers. Thank you to these dedicated members for their ongoing commitment to Out & Out.

Stay safe and be well,
Sarah Tranum, President
on behalf of the Out & Out Club Steering Committee