As of August 1, 2020, REEF has the following COVID-19 policy in effect for all in-person REEF Events and on-the-water REEF activities.

The purpose of this document is to provide information on modified protocols and standard operating procedures for safely coordinating public events and conducting field activities with Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

REEF is committed to providing a safe environment and circumstances for our team members and event participants to mitigate risk posted by COVID-19. The primary mode of COVID-19 virus transmission is believed to be through respiratory droplets that are spread from an infected person through coughing or sneezing to a susceptible close contact within about 6 feet. Thus, these modifications aim to promote safety and reduce risk of transmission through sanitization, social distancing, the use of personal protective gear, and pre-trip health screenings.  

This plan outlines procedures and policies in place for all in-person events coordinated by REEF, including but not limited to Explorers Education programs, REEF Fest, Lionfish Derbies and Festivals, as well as events organized by others. There may be additional steps taken depending on the circumstances of a given event. In advance of any in-person event facilitated by REEF, REEF staff will communicate details of the COVID-19 procedures in place for the event to all event staff, volunteers, and participants.

Participants who do not comply with the rules and procedures outlined here (and any other event-specific procedures), or who make other participants uncomfortable about compliance, will not be allowed to continue with the REEF event and no refunds will be given.

Venue Preparation, Participant Screening, and Social Distancing

Prior to being open to the public for an event, the REEF Campus Coordinator will ensure that the REEF Campus facility is prepared and steps are taken to minimize risk of COVID-19. High touch surfaces, including tables, chairs, doorknobs, bathrooms, and light switches will be cleaned prior to the event, and on a recurring schedule (typically hourly) throughout the event. For events held at locations other than the REEF Campus, REEF staff will coordinate with the event venue(s) to ensure additional sanitization measures appropriate for COVID-19 risk reduction will be completed.

When applicable, REEF will display signs throughout the venue encouraging social distancing to remind attendees not to shake hands, hug, or come within six feet of any other attendee outside of their household. Signs will also be displayed in restrooms detailing effective hand washing.

Tables/chairs at events will be placed at a minimum of six feet apart. Signs will be displayed on tables/chairs letting attendees know that they have been sanitized. Once a table is vacated by one group, a staff or volunteer will sanitize the table in accordance with CDC guidelines before another group can occupy the table. In areas where attendees congregate, chairs/standing spaces will be spaced at least six feet apart, and clearly marked. 

In accordance with Monroe County mandate, participants will be required to wear face coverings at all indoor events and anytime individuals are within 6 feet of others in outdoor venues. REEF will facilitate frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or make available hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol throughout the event. 

Event capacity will follow current Monroe County guidelines (50% of posted capacity of indoor spaces as of 6/29/20). Staff at the check in table will be responsible for keeping track of how many people are currently in attendance at the event. Whenever possible, events will be held outdoors to ensure increased ventilation and circulation of air. 

If food is being served, individual portions will be provided for self-serve or servers will distribute individual portions with gloves and masks. No utensils will be shared.

Prior to any in-person REEF event and/or on-the-water REEF event, participants will be required to review an online health assessment and agree to the COVID-19 precaution requirements for participation in an online waiver (see below).

REEF will set up a check in table for each event to screen participants before they are allowed to enter the event and/or board the boat for water activities (more details on water activities below). Screening may include:

  • Temperature check via forehead scanner
  • Confirming that the participant has not experienced any symptoms of COVID19 in the last 72 hours or come in contact with anyone who has tested positive in the last 14 days
  • Agreeing to wear a facemask during the event 

Water Activities

Participants in REEF events that involve on-the-water activities will be asked to complete a pre-trip health questionnaire online at least 24 hours before departure to help promote the safety and well-being of everyone involved. The questionnaire will also notify participants of procedures that will be in place, including the requirement to have their temperature taken with an infrared thermometer prior to boarding the vessel and face covering requirements.

On the day of the activity, prior to boarding the vessel, a REEF staff member will be in charge of processing each participant. Each individual will be asked the health screening questions again, their temperature will be taken, and they will be provided a sanitized personal plastic bin that will be used on the boat to store the participant’s face masks and other personal items. Participants will wear a face covering over both their nose and mouth at all times, except when in the water. Face coverings will be placed in the bin immediately prior to entering the water, and retrieved immediately upon exiting the water. 

There will be NO sharing of gear rinse bins, due to increased risk of sharing fluids.

Hand sanitizer will be provided on the boat as needed. Rails, counters, and other high-touch surfaces will be cleaned throughout the day according to the individual vessel’s policies.

REEF will provide this document to the captain of the chartered vessel prior to the charter date, and will discuss procedures to ensure the captain and crew understand and agree to protocols. The Captain of the vessel is ultimately in charge and will provide enforcement of safety policies (including COVID-19 related procedures).

Pre-cruise Health Assessment 

Prior to any in-person REEF event and/or prior to boarding a vessel for an on-the-water REEF event, participants will be required to review an online health assessment and agree to the COVID-19 precaution requirements for participation by signing an online waiver. An overview of the contents of that assessment and waiver are below. The full waiver is found here:

If you currently or within the past 14 days have exhibited any of the following COVID-19 symptoms, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (, that are new or unexplained you will not be permitted to participate in the REEF activity, and you are advised to contact your physician for assessment: 

  • Fever (temperature of 100+ degrees)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Chills or repeated shaking
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Diarrhea 

There are several pre-existing conditions and underlying medical conditions that are risk factors that may increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone meeting one or more of the pre-existing conditions is encouraged to discuss risks with their health professional prior to participation.

REEF event participants are required to consent to an infrared thermometer temperature check prior to boarding. If you do not consent to the temperature check, or present with a temperature of 100+ degrees F or more, you will not be able to board the vessel and you will not be eligible for a refund of any fees paid.

Participants will be required to wear a face mask at all times while boarding and onboard the vessel, except when in the water. Personal, sanitized bins will be provided to each participant. Face masks will be placed in the bin immediately prior to entering the water, and retrieved immediately upon exiting the water.

If you are you aware of being in close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, REEF requests that you do not participate in the activity. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you are not permitted to participate in REEF events. 

Additional Resources

PDF of REEF's COVID-19 Events Policy63.77 KB