Jump to content

Guidance on Cache Publications in Pennsylvania


Keystone
Followers 3

Recommended Posts

SEE LATER POSTS FOR CURRENT INFORMATION

 

Dear Pennsylvania Caching Community,

 

The Pennsylvania Community Volunteer Reviewers would like to update the caching community - both cache owners and the folks searching - regarding changes in reviewing and publication practices as a result of COVID-19. The information presented here is accurate as of March 31. We expect it may change going forward, and we will update the Pennsylvania section of the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki accordingly. Our primary focus is to support the health and safety of the entire community, including cachers and non-cachers alike. We seek to comply with current and emerging information and requirements from health and government experts.  Currently 33 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are under a "Stay Home" order, with more counties being added to the list every few days as the number of COVID-19 cases spread.  The Pennsylvania Reviewers are now treating all counties as if they were under a "Stay Home" order and are applying the following standards statewide.

 

At this time, we will only be publishing caches in those locations which are consistent with social distancing, such as on hiking trails, and/or far from residential areas and businesses. We will not be publishing event caches, caches in or near residential areas, caches near businesses, or caches in locations known to us as officially closed. If we are unsure about a particular cache, we will not publish it. We realize this approach is imperfect, but we feel it is both consistent with Governor Wolf's “Stay Home” order (which makes an exception for visiting parks and open recreational spaces for physical exercise) and preferable to stopping all cache publication.

 

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 information and communication and will continue to revisit which caches we can publish. Our commitment to look at each cache within 7 days of submission has not changed, though it’s possible that something may change between a first look and when a cache is ready for publication.

 

Thank you for understanding, and stay well.

Keystone, OReviewer and Skeetsurfer

Edited by Keystone
  • Helpful 2
Link to comment

Thanks for the info and for all the work you put into this activity. Will pending caches, those started but not submitted for review and publication be affected? I think there is a time limit from the initial start until submission. I have two in that situation at present.

Link to comment

A new cache will be evaluated under the above guidance at the time of submission.  So, a lamp post cache in a big box store's parking lot within one of the eight counties would not be published if submitted today, even if the cache owner has been working on the cache for a month.

 

Also see the last sentence - things can change between the time of initial submission and when the cache is ready for publication.  If I put a cache "on hold" last week because it mentioned the name of the big box store, and the cache owner fixed it today, I would not publish it today.  Another example is if additional counties are added to the list covered by the Governor's order.

 

In your case you do not live and hide caches in one of the eight impacted counties, so I would be able to publish a parking lot cache unless and until your local area becomes subject to the "Stay Home" order.

  • Helpful 1
Link to comment

Hi Keystone. I have an email in to you about the change to the new GeoTour in Centre County. I'm hopeful that you will continue to hold on to those and not publish them since we have rescheduled that event. We do want to secure the coordinates based on all the work the cachers have done to date, but not publish anything at this time. Hopefully you have seen that email and can get back to us when you have time. I know you guys are very busy and thank you for your hard work!! Pam/iplay

Link to comment

I would urge the temporary halt of publishing ANY caches until the pandemic is over.  All that does is encourage folks to continue to cache when they should be staying at home.  Latest evidence shows that the virus can survive on plastic for 3 days, metal for 5 so someone can easily transmit it from cache to cache even if some of these caches are off the beaten path.  We're all in this together and should do our best to follow the medical advice which says to "stay at home".  The caches will be there when this is over.  If we don't have some solidarity, we may not be.

Link to comment

The PA Reviewers are carefully tailoring our publication policies to match applicable law.  We will continue to do so.  At this time we have no plans to be more restrictive than the guidance provided by Federal, State and Local government and health authorities.

  • Upvote 2
  • Helpful 2
Link to comment

You may be sticking to the letter of the law but you are also violating the spirit of what needs to be done to eradicate the virus and lift the restrictions.  The concept is really simple, "STAY AT HOME".  Anything non-essential that contributes to people going out is adding to the risk.  What possible justification can you provide for continuing to publish new caches which, in turn, encourages people to get out and spread the virus?  No need to respond, there is none.

Link to comment

Quoting from Governor Wolf's order, "individuals are permitted to engage in outdoor activities."  Which of those words are unclear?  I enjoyed finding five caches yesterday with my family in a rural area.  We hiked up two large hills.  We never came within ten feet of any other people.  We used hand sanitizer after one person handled each cache, except for some gadget caches that hadn't been found since last fall.

 

The order also prohibits gatherings of people.  We are not publishing ANY new event caches anywhere in Pennsylvania.

 

If anyone feels that the PA Reviewers are acting inappropriately, please contact Geocaching HQ via the Help Center to complain.  Please do that.

  • Upvote 1
  • Funny 1
Link to comment
15 hours ago, DubbleG said:

I would urge the temporary halt of publishing ANY caches until the pandemic is over.  All that does is encourage folks to continue to cache when they should be staying at home.  Latest evidence shows that the virus can survive on plastic for 3 days, metal for 5 so someone can easily transmit it from cache to cache even if some of these caches are off the beaten path.  We're all in this together and should do our best to follow the medical advice which says to "stay at home".  The caches will be there when this is over.  If we don't have some solidarity, we may not be.

 

I'm in a "restricted" area, and our medical advice was that as long as we use common sense and not hang out in groups, it's beneficial to get sun, exercise, and some fresh air.  My family doctor even told me that last week.   :)

I saw on our local station how the virus' "survival" tests were done, and all were done in labs.

I'd bet that sunlight, fresh windy air, and rain might well change that a bit.  If not, that's what soap and sanitizer are for,  just in case.   ;)

We haven't been urban caching for some time, with many caches now weeks or longer between finders.

This virus is just one of more than a bunch of health issues we should have been careful about for years whenever human contact may be an issue...  

  • Upvote 1
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
22 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

I'm in a "restricted" area, and our medical advice was that as long as we use common sense and not hang out in groups, it's beneficial to get sun, exercise, and some fresh air.  My family doctor even told me that last week.   :)

I saw on our local station how the virus' "survival" tests were done, and all were done in labs.

I'd bet that sunlight, fresh windy air, and rain might well change that a bit.  If not, that's what soap and sanitizer are for,  just in case.   ;)

We haven't been urban caching for some time, with many caches now weeks or longer between finders.

This virus is just one of more than a bunch of health issues we should have been careful about for years whenever human contact may be an issue...  

 

I'm not arguing about going outside and exercising (assuming both are done following social distancing guidelines).  Caching, however, requires physically handling of things that allow the virus to pass from person to person.  In the case of new caches, this is far more likely because of the FTF hounds who go after them as soon as they are published.  It doesn't matter if the cache is in the middle of the woods 1000 miles from the nearest person.  The cache was placed and, in many cases, will be handled by someone else within a day.

 

You can argue that the survival tests skewed the results.  That may or may not be the case but let's say it is.  You're still likely to be within its survival window going after FTF.  While I disagree with any caching at this time, going after lonely caches or virtual caches is probably far safer than going after FTFs.  I've seen logs where 1/2 a dozen people have signed the new cache within hours of publishing.  How can you justify publishing new caches right now?  Is the risk justified when compared to the benefits of waiting a month or two?

 

The short answer is that we are taking chances with public health for something that really isn't essential.  If we all hunker down for a few weeks we can probably get past the tipping point.  Each of these little "exceptions' adds up and puts all of us at more risk.  There is also the psychological aspect which comes from one person seeing someone do something and thinking it is OK for them as well.  YOU may be using soap/sanitizer, not touching your face, staying 6+ feet away, etc. but the next person might not and it only takes one.  If we all encourage "STAY AT HOME" it reduces the likelihood that anyone is out there taking risks that impact us all.

Link to comment

There are now 33 counties with "Stay Home" orders (with an exception for outdoors exercise).  Rather than keeping up with a county-by-county approach, the Pennsylvania Reviewers are now applying the same standards statewide.  I've edited the opening post accordingly.

  • Helpful 3
Link to comment

With Governor Wolf's announcement of the Process to Re-open Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Community Volunteer Reviewers are again modifying our reviewing and publication practices as a result of COVID-19. The information presented here is accurate as of May 14. We will update the Pennsylvania section of the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki as counties move between the Red Phase, Yellow Phase and Green Phase.  We seek to comply with current and emerging information and requirements from health and government experts. 

For Counties in the Red Phase, we will continue to only publish caches in those locations which are consistent with social distancing, such as on hiking trails, and/or far from residential areas and businesses. We will not be publishing event caches, caches in or near residential areas, caches near businesses, or caches in locations known to us as officially closed. If we are unsure about a particular cache, we will not publish it. We realize this approach is imperfect, but we feel it is both consistent with Governor Wolf's “Stay Home” order (which makes an exception for visiting parks and open recreational spaces for physical exercise) and preferable to stopping all cache publication. 

 

For Counties in the Yellow Phase, we will publish all caches that meet the Geocache Hiding Guidelines, with the exception of all types of Event Caches.  Gatherings of more than 25 people are not permitted within Counties in the Yellow Phase. 

 

Thank you for your understanding, and stay well.

Keystone, OReviewer and Skeetsurfer

 

 

PA Phase Map 5-15-20.gif

  • Helpful 1
Link to comment

Tomorrow, 5/29, there are more changes as counties move from the Red Phase to the Yellow Phase, and from the Yellow Phase to the Green Phase.  There are no Public Health Order restrictions for publishing caches in counties that are in the Yellow or Green Phases, except for Event Caches of all types.  Red Phase counties remain subject to the restrictions described above.  Here is the latest map:

 

 

PA Phase Map 5-29-20.gif

  • Helpful 2
Link to comment

With all of Pennsylvania's counties now in the "Green Phase" or the "Yellow Phase" as of today, there is no longer a need for color coded maps and keeping track of cache publication policies on a county-by-county basis.  All caches (except for event caches) can be published in Pennsylvania if they meet the Geocache Hiding Guidelines.

 

The Pennsylvania Community Volunteer Reviewers will begin publishing event caches once the entire state is in the "Green Phase," where mass gatherings of up to 250 people are permitted.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 3
×
×
  • Create New...