Mountain sports are gradually recovering activity in Spain during the de-escalation phases after the coronavirus pandemic. For this return to continue in the best conditions and avoid possible health risks during the practice of these activities, the Spanish Association of Mountain Guides (AEGM) has published a document of ‘Recommendations for mountain guides’.
Raúl Lora, president of the AEGM, attended AS to explain what this guide is about. “It is a document based on the recommendations made by the Ministry of Tourism through the Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality (ICTE). What it is about is to specify more by guiding the recommendations to the professional practice of mountain guides in the four specialties included in the Spanish Association of Guides, which are medium mountain, high mountain, climbing and ravines “. Lora, who also acts as a guide, welcomed the reception these measures have had in the sector. “The reception of these measures by the fellow guides has been very good. When published, the Ministry’s recommendations, which are much more generic, were not yet finalized. Professionals were waiting for something more precise to help redirect their professional practice adapted to this new situation in which the management of the hygienic-sanitary risk of COVID-19 infection must be taken into account. “
The leader also commented on how the groups of people practicing the respective modalities of mountain sports are being distributed. “The Ministry has set a maximum group of ten people. Still, as our activities are quite specific, under normal conditions they are usually carried out with smaller groups, less than ten people. Within these recommendations and as a guide, we have included ratios for each specialty, all of which are lower than groups of 1 to 10 people. Then each guide or each company must adapt these guidelines to the circumstances of their clients and the activity they carry out that day. In general, it is easy for us to fulfill what the Ministry has proposed because we already normally work with smaller groups. “
Lora affirms that in many of the disciplines social distance can be respected and, in those in which it can be more complicated, measures have been taken such as the use of a mask during the activities. “In some disciplines I see it very easy to respect safety distances, such as in the mountains and hiking. Except for some section with greater technical difficulty in which you have to help customers, in 90% of the sections the safety distance can be maintained. In other modalities such as climbing or ravines there are moments of activity in which it is practically impossible keep the safety distance. For these moments, other security measures have been taken into account, such as use of masks to manage this danger of contagion “.
Lora analyzed how the return to activity in the sector is being and how they have doubled efforts to preserve the safety of customers. “The return to activity is being slow and progressive but the sector has been reactivated with energy. People are eager to go out on the mountain and practice this type of activity and do it as safely as possible. Before the coronavirus pandemic, our job has always been to provide security to the activities we do with our clients. Now we are also trying to provide security in the health field to avoid this risk of contagion. “He is also optimistic about the recovery of the sector in the near future.” If everything continues along the lines of these last weeks and we continue to progress through the phases of de-escalation that the Government has marked, We hope that this summer will be the same in terms of work activity for mountain guides compared to previous summers. But there are colleagues who, seeing the reservations they are having for this summer, they are optimistic and believe that they could even improve. “
Finally, Lora encouraged people to return to mountain sports with the least concern and knowing that they will have the greatest possible security to prevent health risks. “We recommend going out into the mountains after having seen the document that we have prepared. We want to publicize that these types of activities in the mountains can be practiced in complete safety from the health point of view. We want people to have no trouble starting to hire and enjoy these activities again because, as we did previously, in terms of managing physical risks, now mountain guides are prepared, trained and duly trained to manage this other risk. “