CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE
March 10, 2021
December marked a turning point in the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic, as that is when the national vaccination campaign got underway. Though at times slow, inconsistent, and maddening, the campaign has gained much momentum in the last month-and-a-half, and Americans are now being vaccinated at the rate of over two million people a day. With three vaccines now available, the pace of vaccinations accelerating, and public health trends generally moving in the right direction, we’ve been preparing steadily for the resumption of tour operations.
With this message, I am announcing that VENT will begin operating tours again in late April or early May. Central to this effort, VENT has instituted a Covid-19 vaccination requirement. Effective with our return to tour operations, all customers 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.
Regarding our tour leaders, each of our guides is vaccinated or will be vaccinated. A number of our tour leaders are in varying stages of the vaccination process. Some are already fully vaccinated while others have received first shots. Others have still not received any vaccine at all. We will not operate a U.S. tour unless our tour leaders are fully vaccinated.
Our decision to require vaccination among our travelers is not made lightly nor arrived at easily. We’ve reached this point only after a long period of deliberation. Along the way, we have spoken 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.
We have received inquiries as to whether VENT will employ Covid health and safety protocols on our tours. The answer is “Yes. Absolutely.” Our efforts to resume operations will be guided by information produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). In the coming days, this page will be updated with information regarding the specific procedures and protocols that will serve as the standards by which we will operate our tours. Items we’ll address include, but are not limited to, mask-wearing, social distancing, dining options, and accommodations, riding in vehicles, hand washing, and more.
Our goal will be to operate as many of our scheduled tours as we can. The ability to operate our tours will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 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, and for that reason, situations may exist when waiting until after the six-week marker may increase our chances of operating a tour. As always, 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 the office is still closed, you should know that VENT most definitely remains open for business! In fact, through this crisis, we continue to receive registrations for tours departing in the future. 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 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 understanding and patience. Your support has been critical in our ability to get through this unprecedented time.
Please visit this page in the days and weeks ahead for future updates.
We hope you stay healthy and will look forward to joining us on another great trip.
President and CEO
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours