COVID-19 Safe Operations Information

COVID-19 Safe Operations Information

We would like to update you regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Ranch. We’re committed to communicating proactively with all of our clients, volunteers, and staff  as we monitor the situation.  The Ranch is still operating, within the guidelines set forth by the City of Austin, Travis County, and the CDC, so we may continue to safely provide mental health and behavioral health services for clients. We have implemented new “Safe Operation Policies and Procedures” to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We thank the volunteers and staff members who have adopted these new practices.

HHR Student holding sign stating face mask required.

Safe Operation Policies and Procedures

What we know!

  • The virus can spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • The virus can spread between people that have contact with contaminated surfaces by touching  that surface and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. 

What we are doing to ensure the safety of our community.
1) No person(s) may enter the main gate if they answer yes to any of the following questions:

  1. In the last 14 days, have you or anyone in your household, traveled by mass public transit, or to a highly effected area (California, Washington, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts), or internationally?
  2. Are you or any one in your household under investigation by the CDC or suspected of contacting COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
  3. Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or fever)?  

2) We require all guests and staff of the ranch to wear a protective face mask at all times. 

  • Masks can be removed when alone in remote areas of the ranch. 
  • Masks can be remove for eating and drinking.

3) We have suspended all events, training, and any other activities that have more than 10 attendees.

  •  We have suspended all group volunteer events until further notice. 
  • We have suspended in-person outreach and fundraising events until further notice. We are continuing fundraising and outreach events online and in virtual spaces. Get in on the fun by following our Facebook and Instagram
  • We have suspended all in-person volunteer trainings until further notice. If you would like to take the first step to becoming a volunteer, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Lauren Higgins at, for more details about our online volunteer orientation.
  • Client tours for Mental Health Services (Equine-Assisted Counseling) can still be scheduled with prior screening.

4) We have limited the frequency and number of, clients, essential staff, and volunteers that can come to the ranch.  

  • We have limited the total number of people at the ranch, for any reason, to no more than 10 at one time and the total number of unique people in a 48 hour period to be no more than 30.
  • We have asked all staff that can work from home to do so. 
  • We ask that only essential persons arrive with their client. We ask clients and their families to not bring family members, friends, and/or other persons that do not provide an essential support (like transportation) to the Ranch.
  • We ask only volunteers that are scheduled come to the ranch for essential horse care, disinfecting procedures, or other essential tasks visit the Ranch. 
  • All committee meetings and board meets are held online via video conferencing. 
  • Staff meetings will held using a hybrid virtual/in-person model.

5) We have limited the surfaces that can be touched to staff desks, tack room, feed room, bathroom, stalls, mounting ramp and access to water. 

  • All waiting areas are closed; guardians, caregivers, and support persons are asked to wait in parking area with appropriate social distancing. 
  • Guardians, caregivers, and support persons have limited access to the building (door, bathroom, water). 
  • Clients only have access to lessons supplies (brushes, tack, and helmets). Clients are not permitted to access the feed room, waiting area, and staff desks. 

6) We have implemented frequent cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

  • Staff and volunteers have scheduled  PM cleaning and disinfecting shifts and are held accountable for executing these clean and disinfecting procedures by their supervisor. 
  • Instructors are responsible for cleaning and disinfection lessons supplies (brushes, tack, helmets, etc.) and lesson area (stalls, area gates, mounting ramp, round pen gate, etc.) before, during, and after each of their lessons. 
  • All staff, volunteers, and clients have access to two different hand washing stations inside the barn and several hand sanitizer stations located throughout the barn and stall area. 
  •  All staff, volunteers, and clients must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds upon arriving at the Ranch,  if they may have contacted respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, eating/drinking, or touching their face at any time, and again, when leaving the Ranch. 

6) We are social distancing.

  • All persons at the Ranch are asked to maintain a safe distance of 6′ of separation between them and other people.
  • If a person cannot stay safe working with equines and maintain a safe social distance of 6′ of separation they will have to suspend coming to the Ranch until further notice. Clients that cannot maintain a safe social distance may have the option to receive tele-services.