This information has been checked for accuracy as at the date and time of circulation.
[download INFTA COVID-19 Safe Plan]
The International Nature and Forest Therapy Alliance (INFTA) acknowledges the importance of managing all risks within an ongoing review of activities around prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
INFTA recognizes the potential spread of the viral respiratory disease COVID-19 at the locations in which business operates and where its staff deliver services. INFTA is, therefore, committed to ensuring the safety of all members, staff, volunteers, participants, stakeholders and the broader community. As such, INFTA is committed to undertaking activities to:
This COVID-19 Safe Plan is guided by the recommendations of the World Health Organization as well as relevant federal, state and local bodies where INFTA-Certified Forest Therapy Guides conduct guided Forest Therapy sessions.
INFTA Accredited Training Providers should adopt these guidelines and provide adequate information and guidance to trainees, including a risk management plan.
INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guides must adopt these guidelines and have to have their own COVID-19 Safe Plan in place as part of risk management for their business operations and locations where they are contracted to provide service.
Contact information must be kept on all meeting attendees and participants at guided Forest Therapy sessions including full name, email address, residential address, phone number, date of walk and time period (time in and time out) for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days or other timeline specified by health authorities. Members, staff and guides will ensure records are used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 infections and are captured and stored confidentially and securely.
2.2 Hygiene and Cleaning
INFTA members, staff and guides must follow the following protocols and inform contractors, volunteers, staff or participants of expectations before they attend a scheduled appointment. This includes:
All members, staff and guides must practice good hygiene by frequently cleaning their hands. Hand washing should take at least 20 to 30 seconds. Wash the whole of each hand, covering all areas with soap before washing with water. If hand washing is not practical, disinfectant and/or alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol are recommended.
2.3 Serving Refreshments
Members, staff and guides shall only serve refreshments if allowed at the time. Maintain good practices and follow guidelines set by the location or venue where meetings, gatherings or Forest Therapy sessions are conducted. Any refreshments that are offered will be in environmentally sustainable disposable items in place of reusable items where possible.
2.4 Physical Distancing
All members, staff and INFTA guides shall not attend meetings, gatherings or guided Forest Therapy sessions if they are unwell or notice any flu-like symptoms. Based on current advice, all members, staff and guides must cap the number of attendees and/or participants (including the guide and any assistant/s) and record the relevant personal details of all participants for possible contact tracing. Guides will send out information prior to any guided Forest Therapy session to the participants. In addition, the guides inform all participants at the start of the guided Forest Therapy session about the 1.5 metres distance between persons and ensuring an average hygiene safety area of four square metres per person.
INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guides will endeavour to ensure there are protocols for cancelling events and offering alternative online offerings wherever safe and possible.
INFTA will regularly review the systems of work to ensure they are consistent with current directions and advice provided by health authorities across the regions where services are delivered.
INFTA will ensure that up-to-date hygiene and infection control advice from the World Health Organization and relevant Government Health Authorities under which INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guides operate are implemented and communicated to all INFTA Accredited Training Providers and INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guides.
Any INFTA member, staff, volunteer, guide in training or INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guide who feels unwell with what is perceived as the onset of a cold, flu or respiratory illness should seek appropriate medical attention immediately, including COVID-19 testing. Staff and members should not attend work. Guides in training and practicum will not be permitted to conduct guided Forest Therapy walks until a negative COVID-19 result is received and symptoms have subsided. INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guides should establish and follow COVID-19 Safe Plans for their business and/or at locations where they are contracted to guide Forest Therapy sessions.
Any INFTA member, staff, volunteer, guide in training or INFTA-Certified and Accredited Forest Therapy Guide who has been tested positively for COVID-19 has an obligation to inform INFTA that they have tested positively and inform INFTA about the people they have been in close contact with during their infectious period. This information will be conveyed to the relevant authorities. Recommended cleaning and disinfection protocols will commence immediately.