I’d like to share a few community-related updates that Tribers have been asking me a lot lately. I get the chance to have conversations with many of you on Chapters where I can break down the thought processes behind our decisions, so I wanted to do the same with this post.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been trying to keep up with the constantly changing landscape with you. Having hosted many Chapters during COVID, I can tell you that it was challenging. From one day to the next, we had to police our friends, say “no” to having Tribers who were in the same places as a Chapter join for dinner, and enforce restrictions on people whose entire lives are designed around freedom.
I’m relieved that the world is slowly returning to its pre-pandemic self. It finally feels like the right time to bring things to the so-called “new normal”.
Starting with our next Chapters in Quito, Canggu, and Edinburgh, we will:
- loosen our COVID restrictions on Chapters, Colives, and Unplugged experiences
- restart the visitor policy for friends and family
- bring back meeting up with a Chapter when we happen to be in the same city (more on this in our next blog post)
Let’s get into the details…
Loosening COVID restrictions on Chapters
On one of our recent Chapters, we realised that our COVID policy just wasn’t working well anymore.
The focus was on testing as soon as someone felt symptoms. If their test came back positive, we would follow our procedures to avoid spreading it. The problem with this approach was that a person who was COVID positive would often have several negative test results, even when they already had symptoms, before finally testing positive.
During this time, it often spread to several others, thus starting a chain reaction.
By now, we all know that the most effective thing we can do to avoid spreading COVID is to self-isolate and wear a mask as soon as we notice the first symptoms.
We’ve seen it over and over again on Chapters; it’s in these first days when we feel that we miiight be coming down with something that we either succeed in stopping the spread or start passing it on to others.
So we’d like to propose a new strategy to deal with COVID (and all illnesses) on a trip with the Tribe:
Instead of COVID policies and restrictions, it will simply be expected that each of us does the right thing and takes care of one another and the communities around us.
Whenever we feel any early symptoms – whether typical to COVID or any other illness – we will do our best to avoid passing whatever it is that we’ve got on to anyone else. Because, frankly, none of us want to get sick on a Chapter if we can avoid it – whether it’s COVID, a snotty flu, or a fever.
So if you’re on a Chapter, Colive, or Unplugged trip, as soon as you feel anything off, please:
- Self-isolate right away (avoid being in the same room as others for 5 days or until clear of symptoms)
- Wear a mask if you have to leave the room (e.g. bathroom or food delivery)
This won’t be mandatory but expected as common courtesy to fellow Tribers.
So when you see your housemate walking with a mask on, it will be an act of thoughtfulness and a sign of respect that this person is trying to take care of you.
However, if we find that someone is being disrespectful or inconsiderate to their housemates in regards to spreading illnesses (e.g. are frequently coughing around others without wearing a mask) they may be asked to leave the premises for 5 days.
If you booked a shared room and you’re experiencing any symptoms (whether COVID or other), it’s encouraged for roommates to have a conversation at the start of the Chapter or Colive about what each person feels comfortable with. Members can decide if the symptomatic roommate should find temporary accommodations or figure out another other setup that keeps all members safe and comfortable.
We believe that by loosening our official restrictions and asking everyone to take care of one another, we will all act more quickly and stop COVID and other illnesses from getting passed around.
Of course, there are two caveats to us loosening these restrictions:
- If we’re traveling to a country with other COVID restrictions, we expect everyone to respect those.
- If a new variant comes along, we will need to keep adjusting with the times. Please be aware that things may change on short notice.
You can see more details about the loosened restrictions on our Travel Alerts page.
You can have a visitor on Chapter again
During the pandemic, we had several instances where COVID was brought into the group by an external friend or acquaintance.
However, in line with COVID restrictions being loosened in most countries, we are bringing back the option to have a visitor on Chapters again.
If a close friend or a loved one is coming to visit you, we just ask you to be considerate of the community and the Chapter experience!
Here’s what we prioritized when developing the visitor policy:
- How can we safeguard the Chapter experience for everyone?
- What needs to be agreed on so that everyone feels safe and comfortable with who is in the house?
- How do we ensure that members who paid for the Chapter feel that it’s fair?
I invite you to read all the details of the new visitor policy for more about how to invite a guest to your next Chapter!