On February 29 , 2020, Seattle became the epicenter of the United States’ COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Little did we know just what that meant or the impact it was going to have.
Leading up to that day, all of us here in the Pacific Northwest were checking the weather and trail reports in order to make those tough decisions—“is it a ski day or a bike day? mountain bike or road bike?” Then we’d have the dilemma of which post-ride coffee shop or brewery to meet at. Oh, how difficult life was.
Over the past three weeks, Seattle has been turned upside down. COVID-19 has claimed 43 lives so far, with at least 905 confirmed cases statewide. People are being told to work from home, schools are closed until at least April 27th, and all Seattle attractions have closed temporarily or permanently, including the iconic Space Needle. Many long-standing restaurants have closed their doors, some permanently, unable to withstand the economic fall-out.
We optimistically thought the impact wouldn’t be so far-reaching. We thought we’d be able to run our small tours in remote locations safely. As things have been rapidly changing, we have had no choice but to cancel tours, lay off office staff, and break the news to our guides that they may not be working for weeks if not months. While most tech workers in our area have been lucky enough to hold onto their jobs, not all of us have been so fortunate. We have furloughed non-critical personnel, including all Tour Guides and are down to a skeleton crew of three people.
Today we made the decision to stop running all tours until May 17th. That feels like both a long time and a short time all at once. Of course, we will continue monitoring the situation and will adjust that plan as needed and communicate to all registered guests.
If it were not for our staff, guides and the support of our loyal guests, I am not sure we would be in a position to survive this. Not knowing how long this will last, we are still in a difficult, scary and precarious position.
As we all navigate this unusual and difficult time together, we are grateful for your patience and understanding. And as we continue looking forward, if you’ve already booked and paid for a tour, we’d like to ask that you request a transfer to a future tour or credit on file.
We are down but we are not out. Everything permitting, we plan to open tours in mid-May with our New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah tours. We have cancelled all international tours through June.
We need your help…
- Call us. We are in this together, and we really do want to hear how you are doing.
- Stick with us. We are looking at a long road ahead, and we will really need your support.
- Be patient. We are down to a skeleton crew, and we may miss a call or email.
- Support our guides. All of our tour guides are seasonal part time employees, which means they are not eligible for unemployment benefits. We have set up a separate bank account specifically for the guides and I will be gifting to the guides based on need. The amount you donate will be kept confidential and anonymous or we can add your name to a list of donors. I’ll be releasing more information next week on our guide relief fund and other creative ways you can help us through this difficult time.
Todd, Camille, Matt and the rest of the BA family