The New Reality
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now part of everyone’s new reality.
Because it’s still relatively fresh in North America, the threat of COVID-19 may seem abstract, but as the confirmed cases grow and we see the effects in our own communities it becomes more personal and a lot more real.
We’ve already seen the devastation of COVID-19 in countries outside North America. We’re now experiencing the social and financial ramifications of a pandemic right here at home. It’s affecting how we live, where we can go and what we can do, and how we interact with each other.
What’s apparent is that COVID-19 is not to be taken lightly. Even if you’re in a lower risk demographic, you don’t want to be a part of transmitting coronavirus to higher risk populations. You don’t want to contribute to putting undue weight on the health care system.
Our choices have serious consequences: this is being reiterated by medical professionals on a daily basis.
How are BC fishing charters affected? Putting three or four or five people together all day in a relatively small space isn’t exactly social distancing — in fact, it’s fair to characterize it as irresponsible.
So what do we do in the interim?
Flattening the Curve — Our Approach
A pandemic is a novel experience for all of us. We’re all grappling with how to behave and how to get by, and we’re all kind of playing it by ear. All you can do is seek out the best available information and act accordingly.
What we know for certain is that the best way to get ahead of COVID-19 is to limit the scenarios whereby the disease may be transmitted. You limit those scenarios by doing things like washing your hands, social distancing, foregoing non-essential interactions, and self-quarantining in certain situations.
Given the current circumstances, it’s untenable for Outsider Charters Inc. to offer fishing charters in the short term. These circumstances will change, but for the time being we’ve decided to not take bookings for April 2020.
You’ll still be able to book dates for after April 30th. As new information comes out, it may become prudent to abridge or extend that non-booking window, but for now that’s where it stands. We have to contribute to flattening the curve.
Refundable Deposits & Booking
The next question is how to deal with booking situations going forward. No one knows for sure what the landscape is going to be in one month, or two months, or three. On the one hand, a fishing charter company wants to have certainty about when it’s providing trips. On the other hand, no customer wants to put down money for something that might not come to be. Both a business and its customers need a degree of predictability in order to function.
With that in mind, we’ve re-written our deposit and booking policy in a way that hopefully gives our clients some flexibility and peace of mind.
The new policy works like this. A $400 CAD deposit is required to book a day of salmon fishing, with the balance due prior to the date of departure. That deposit will now be fully refundable, less the fees that we pay for payment processing, in the event that your charter can’t proceed due to COVID-19.
This means that your deposit is refundable if there are COVID-19 related governmental travel restrictions or prescribed medical or disease limitations that prevent the charter from occurring, or if you are prevented from travelling to Campbell River for your charter because of a transportation service provider withdrawing their services due to COVID-19.
There shouldn’t be a monetary penalty for a health and safety circumstance beyond a customer’s control.
Cancellations for reasons not related to COVID-19 will work as follows: (a) if you cancel 60 days or more from the date of your trip, your deposit will be refunded; (b) if you cancel within 60 days of the date of your trip, the deposit will not be refunded.
We think that this revised policy gives our customers substantially more flexibility in terms of trying to plan their trips, and at the same time it gives us a degree of certainty about when trips will take place. At the end of the day, we’re all going to have to learn to adapt to changing circumstances.
There’s a huge amount of COVID-19 information out there now. We feel that it’s important to avoid speculation and instead rely on the best data available; to that end, the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website provides comprehensive information with respect to (amongst other things) prevention and risk, preparation, and travel advice. British Columbia has a similar COVID-19 support and information website.
Additionally, Destination BC’s official website provides travel information and COVID-19 updates. As Destination BC points out, a non-medical information BC government phone service is also available, in multiple languages, by dialing 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319). Additionally, Health Canada has a COVID-19 information line: 1-888-784-4397.
Stay Safe & Be Positive
Hopefully the above information is of some benefit. We look forward to resuming our normal services, and as always we look forward to fishing with our guests. In the meantime, stay informed, be kind, and above all, keep yourself and your loved ones safe.