Announcement: All Friends events cancelled until the end of May 2020
Dear Members and Volunteers
FOHT has been monitoring the rapidly changing developments arising from the pandemic announcement for Coronavirus COVID-19 and especially the need to adhere to public health requirements issued by the Federal and State Governments.
As a member-based organisation that relies on the active support of our dedicated volunteers, we are most focused on the health, safety and wellbeing of our members and volunteers. We have considered the public health requirements about social distancing as well as the related issue of avoiding non-essential activity and our specific demographic. We also wanted to make clear decisions that allow lead in time for our volunteer Walk and Maintenance Coordinators to organise necessary changes to programmed events.
The Friends Council has made the difficult decision to cancel ALL FOHT events: this includes all walks in our program, all trail maintenance trips and section work, all face-to-face meetings and to close the office. This will have effect immediately until 31 May 2020. We recognise that the public health requirements may continue to change so Council has established a small response group to review the COVID-19 situation as it evolves and update members should changes occur.
Action from hereon:
- Walk and Maintenance Leaders will contact groups about any specific details.
- The Office will continue to be monitored by a small team of willing volunteers to ensure emails, phone and shop are managed.
- Finance team will generally manage the bookkeeping by remote access.
- We will apply the usual refund policy where members are already booked and paid on walks. If this affects you, you will not need to contact the Office. Please allow us 2 weeks to complete your refund.
- Our Council and Committees will organise through email and phone discussion as needed.
Advice to our members
We encourage you to individually get out walking in nature for your own physical and mental well-being and where it aligns with the current public health requirements.
- Practice social distancing i.e. keep at least 1.5m away from others;
- Increase hand hygiene by washing with soap & water after sneezing, coughing, toilet and contact with doors, benches etc.
- Dispose of tissues safely.
- Use email and phone communication.
- Stay home if you are unwell.
These decision will create challenges for the Friends and our partner bus companies, as the current situation is damaging many small businesses. Please consider renewing your membership to continue to support the Friends and the Heysen Trail.
If you have any questions or concerns
Please email the office if you have any specific questions. We will appreciate your patience as we may take longer than usual to respond.
This is an unusual time but mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus to protect community health is critical. You may find the following sites useful in monitoring developments: