COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all our lives. Even though Mt Barney Lodge is tucked away in a secluded corner of the Scenic Rim, we have not been immune to this change. Moving forward, our “new normal” will look a little different, but we can confidently continue to offer our guests a safe and relaxing country retreat. We’ve made a few modest changes to our practices so you can be sure of our commitment to health and safety during your stay at Mt Barney Lodge. Leave it with us!
We know you might have a few questions about how camping, accommodation and outdoor adventure might look in a COVIDsafe environment, so here are some answers to those frequently asked questions:
How will physical distancing work at Mt Barney Lodge?
Luckily, we’ve got plenty of open space!
In keeping with QLD Government directions, group sizes will be limited to 20 people and all guests are required to keep 1.5m social distance at all times. This is easily achieved in the camp grounds where we cap our guest numbers as usual, and always keep it spacious. For shared facilities such as the office, amenities block and picnic areas, signage will be in place advise you on hygiene and social distancing. As for the National Park, be courteous to other users by giving a wide berth on the trail and enjoy the fresh mountain air!
What about accommodation? How many people can I have in a homestead/hut/camper trailer?
If you plan to stay with members of your “family unit” (e.g. those who generally reside in your household) then your arrangements are really no different from being at home, and you can book a stay with us up to the maximal capacity of the building as per our website. However, if you plan to book non-family accommodation (e.g. with friends or family from outside your residence), we will need to give consideration to sleeping arrangements. A non-family group can make use of the homestead with no changes to the maximum numbers, however hut and camper trailer guests must reduce their numbers in the tent space and bunk rooms to only 3 to satisfy the required 4m² per guest. We’ll discuss your group at the time of booking to ensure the best arrangement.
How do the Mt Barney Lodge staff keep healthy?
All staff at Mt Barney Lodge have been appropriately briefed on current restrictions and safe practices. Every staff member conducts regular handwashing, maintains appropriate physical distancing and uses PPE when appropriate, for example when cleaning and handling food. Staff temperatures are taken and recorded on a daily basis and any member who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will not attend work.
Do I need to check-in?
We’ve streamlined check-in procedures so that you don’t need to come in to the office. Instead, full payment will be taken at time of booking via credit card. This is the preferred method of payment, but you are still welcome to come to the office should you need to pay in cash or require information about hikes and climbs. In this case, please be aware that the office is a small space and so you’ll need to wait outside if another customer is already inside.
Is hiking and climbing safe?
If following government guidelines in regard to social distancing, being outdoors is one of the safest places to be! Due to environmental factors such as ambient temperature and UV light, viruses don’t last long out of doors. In fact, a recent study suggests that rates of COVID-19 transmission are extremely low in outdoor environments (only 2 cases out of 1245! Source: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.04.20053058v1). That said, don’t forget that although the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low in Mt Barney National Park, the terrain is still mountainous and remote – understand that implications of a rescue are quite serious, so maintain a low risk profile and consider taking a guide if you’re unsure.
How clean are the amenities and other shared facilities?
All shared facilities such as toilets and showers are cleaned a minimum of three times daily in accordance with Queensland Health recommendations. This schedule is recorded and can be found at the facility. Additionally, the amenities are cleaned hourly during peak times. We use X02 commercial products to clean and disinfect and have the Safety Data Sheets available on request.
How clean are the accommodation buildings?
All accommodation is given a thorough clean by professional cleaning staff in between visits. This includes a disinfecting all contact surfaces and washing all linen. As an ongoing practice, we ask that guests thoroughly wash and dry all crockery and cutlery. We’ll make sure there is enough detergent and tea towels to make this a breeze.
Will the mountain expeditions still go ahead?
Yes. As stated above, when it comes to avoiding COVID-19 transmission, you can’t do much better than spend time in the outdoors. Of course, our guides will ensure that 1.5m distance is maintained between participants as much as possible. Depending on the expedition, there may be a need to reduce this distance or make physical contact for short periods in demanding sections of the hike/climb, however Safe Work Australia guidelines state that periods of face-to-face contact of shorter duration than 15 minutes are unlikely to spread the virus. We’ll be adhering to a strict hand sanitization protocol and each guest will be provided with a personal lunch pack.
What about kid’s activities?
Again, it’s all about hand washing! Guidelines from the Outdoor Council Australia state that physical distancing is more important for adults and largely unnecessary for children, however we’ll still endeavour to keep space where possible and be diligent with hand hygiene and food handling. The upshot is that there is very little impact on our school camps or holiday programs.
What if I’m feeling sick?
Please stay at home. An outbreak of COVID-19 on our property has wide-ranging implications for our guests, our staff and our business and the community at large. If you’re at all in doubt, please err on the side of caution. Mt Barney Lodge will adjust your account to remove the guest who was unable to attend, however should all guests cancel due to illness, the building charge for the dates booked is non-refundable. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance at the time of booking to cover this and other unforeseen events.
If I am sick will this affect my booking?
- Covid19 presents a new set of decision making for all of us. It is very challenging!
- Our duty of care according to government requirements is to advise you to stay at home if you have suspected Covid symptoms.
- Accordingly with Covid 19, it is your personal responsibility to allow others to be safe by staying at home and seeking medical advice.
The Mt Barney Lodge response to you advising us that you are sick is::
- If the sick person stays at home, we can adjust the number of people in your booking and reduce your payment accordingly.
- If we can fill your place at the last minute and avoid loss of a booking (and we will do everything we can to help you with this including waiting lists and Facebook posts) then your payment can be transferred, or refunded with a transaction fee
- However if your health condition prevents you from taking up your booking, and we cannot find a last-minute alternative, then your deposit is forfeit as per our usual T’s and C’s.
- For this reason we are strongly advising travel insurance to cover against this possible event.
We understand this presents obstacles for us all and as a business we are aiming to make the Covid 19 transition as smooth as possible.
What if I’m immune-compromised or have a pre-existing condition?
This is a decision for you to make. If you feel as though you can remain successfully isolated from other guests, then a visit to Mt Barney Lodge might be possible. You should consider bringing your own toilet and hygiene facilities in order to avoid using shared amenities. If in doubt, please err on the side of caution.
Can I self-isolate at Mt Barney Lodge?
You can. Given our new check-in procedures, quarantine in style without ever having to come into our office! The most suitable venue to book is a homestead. Camping is also possible if you are fully self-contained i.e. toilet and shower in a van. Please ensure you advise us if you are in a 14-day quarantine period before booking in with us.
What if there is an outbreak at Mt Barney Lodge?
We have established protocols to respond to an outbreak. This will involve an indefinite closure of the facilities and mandatory reporting to government health agencies. Mt Barney Lodge will be maintaining a comprehensive list of all guests and contact details should they need to be informed of an outbreak on the property. Please help us remain open by only visiting us only when you are healthy.
How will you keep track of visitors?
It is now a requirement of our check-in procedures that every guest provides contact details as well as a declaration of health. This data will be kept in the strictest confidentiality, which is no different to the information found on our medical waivers for outdoor activities.
Does Mt Barney Lodge have any official documentation or accreditation to be COVIDsafe?
You bet! We’re an accredited COVID-CLEAN business, an initiative run by Queensland Tourism Industry Council. Additionally, the Work Health and Safety Plan is a requirement of all Queensland businesses. Our COVID plan will be stored at the office and is available on request.
Can I read some more resources?
Of course. These are the key frameworks that are informing our current practices:
Queensland Government Health Guidelines – https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/
Queensland Tourism Industry Council –
Safe Work Australia Guidelines – https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/other-resources/national-covid-19-safe-workplace-principles
Outdoor Council of Australia Framework for rebooting outdoor activities in a COVID-19 environment – https://www.outdoorcouncil.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/OCA-Framework-for-Rebooting-Outdoor-Activities-in-a-COVID-19-Environment-Final.pdf