CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE
May 6, 2021 (Please note that our COVID-19 Protocols were updated May 20, 2021)
The latter part of April saw VENT’s return to tour operations with departures to Texas, Montana, and California. We have worked hard to get to this point in our gradual recovery from the effects of the pandemic, and with vaccination rates and public health trends generally moving in the right direction, we’re increasingly optimistic about the prospects of many of our upcoming departures.
As I announced in March, central to our return to tour operations, VENT has instituted a Covid-19 vaccination requirement: All customers and tour leaders must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in a VENT tour.
By “fully vaccinated,” we mean that an individual is two weeks beyond having received the amount of vaccine required for reaching full immunity, to the degree specific vaccines confer. For Americans, this means either the two-shot sequence for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We will update this information as other vaccines become available.
Each of our tour leaders is vaccinated or will be vaccinated. Most of our guides are now fully vaccinated while others have received first shots. Several have still not received any vaccine at all. We will not operate a tour unless our tour leaders are fully vaccinated.
Our decision to require vaccination among our travelers and tour leaders was not made lightly nor arrived at easily. We reached this point only after a long period of deliberation. Along the way, we spoke with a number of people and sought a diversity of perspectives, and the clear majority has been supportive of this decision.
The bottom line is that VENT will make its reasonable, best effort to keep its tour leaders and tour participants safe and healthy on its tours. We feel that the best chance for success in achieving this goal is through a vaccination requirement. A requirement is the surest way to provide our travelers with peace of mind about their fellow travelers and tour conditions in terms of health and safety. When someone joins a VENT tour and is in the company of fellow participants, they will have the assurance of knowing those people are there because they’ve been vaccinated. Moreover, vaccination will likely make international travel somewhat easier as we all navigate a potential host of airline restrictions and regulations and country entry requirements.
Underscoring our commitment to safe operation of our tours, we have developed a COVID-19 health and safety protocols document that provides guidance for the operation of our tours. This guidance is firmly rooted in information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Items we address in the document include, but are not limited to, mask-wearing, social distancing, dining protocols, accommodations, riding in vehicles, hand washing, and more.
Our goal is to operate all of our domestic tours from this time on, while our ability to operate international departures will be determined on a case-by-case basis. For any tour whose future is in question, we will continue our policy of deciding no less than six weeks prior to a tour’s start date whether it will operate; however, conditions and circumstances continue to evolve, as always, and for that reason, situations may exist when waiting until after the six-week marker may increase our chances of operating a tour. Should you be affected by the cancellation of a tour, I assure you that our Operations team will be in contact with you. Should we have to cancel a tour, your funds may be moved to another tour or you may receive a full refund.
VENT office staff employees continue to work from home, although a number of us have begun transitioning back to our office. Regardless, you should know that VENT most definitely remains open for business! In fact, registrations for future tour departures are strong. As always, you can reach us by email (all of us here still have access to our “@ventbird” email addresses). You can also reach us by phone (512-328-5221 or 800-328-8368). When making a call, you will reach our receptionist/staff assistant, Connie Buck, who will connect you to the appropriate staff member or respective voice mailbox. If calling after hours, or when Connie is away from her desk, you will hear a general greeting, at which time you can reach the voice mailbox of any of our staff members.
If you would like to reach Victor directly, please call his mobile phone: 512-656-2687. All of us have the ability to check our voice messages regularly. We will return email and voice messages as promptly as we can. We appreciate your continued understanding and patience. Your support has been critical in our ability to get through this unprecedented time.
Please visit this page in the weeks ahead for future updates.
We hope you will stay healthy and look forward to joining us on another great trip.
President and CEO
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours