COVID Safety Protocols

Our first priority is to protect the health of everyone who comes to the Garchen Institute, including our monastic community, practitioners, staff, residents and teachers. We follow county, state, and federal (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines that are currently in place, along with additional essential safety protocols. Yavapai County, in which we reside, is currently
a high risk area along with Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Wearing masks indoors in public spaces is highly recommended. The campus here at the Garchen Institute will remain closed except for in-person group retreats. Only retreatants and support staff will be onsite.

Please note that we are currently conducting “Closed Retreats” meaning that once you arrive and are screened for the event we do expect you to remain on the property throughout its duration.

Caring for the Sangha

The Garchen Institute welcomes people from within the U.S. and from around the world to participate in our retreats. Our intention is to include as many people as possible. We have chosen to require COVID-19 vaccination + booster for in-person retreats at this time. This is not a decision we have made lightly. It reflects our obligation to keep Rinpoche,
our community and practice spaces as safe as possible. We acknowledge that our policy puts a hardship on those who have not been vaccinated for personal, political or doctor-advised reasons. We ask for your patience and understanding in our efforts to protect the health of all retreatants, resident staff and lamas, especially the elderly and physically vulnerable.
If you are not vaccinated + boosted, we invite you to participate in our online retreats and programs to deepen your practice and connect with our community. We will continue to revisit our safety guidelines as the pandemic shifts.
If you have any questions, please contact us at

Thank you for your practice, support and dedication to Garchen Institute.

May all beings benefit.

Safety Protocols

The following are the Institute’s fundamental required safety protocols:

Vaccination: All retreatants must be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, according to the CDC recommendations for each individual’s demographic, two weeks or more before arrival. Proof of vaccination and boosters will be required. Individuals will not be admitted to the retreat if not “fully vaccinated.” Click here to see the CDC recommendations
Negative COVID-19 Test: All retreat participants must agree to test for COVID ( preferably a PCR test ) 2 days before traveling to the institute and send the results. This will hopefully inform everyone of their status before the expense of travel and the possibility of being denied entry to the event. Everyone will take an antigen test on the arrival day of each event. Commuting participants ( if applicable ) will be tested daily during the allotted time window. Individuals will not be admitted to the retreat if the test result is positive for COVID.
N95 or KN95 Masks Required: Although Yavapai County has lifted the mandatory mask mandate, it is strongly recommended by the CDC that individuals continue to wear masks indoors. Since we serve as a residential retreat center and prioritize the safety of our practitioners, staff, and teachers, we will continue to require masks in specified indoor spaces. Masks will be optional in other spaces & we support your diligence in self care. Wherever masks are mandated
we are requiring the proper wearing of N95 or KN95 masks, which are proven to better filter aerosolized particles than cloth or three-ply disposable masks. We will supply you with an appropriate mask. Masks are not required in outside spaces when physical distancing of six feet or more can be maintained. You may be asked to leave the retreat if you do not, or are not able to properly wear your mask to protect others. Added ventilation has been added to ease the
discomfort & help diminish the risks of gathering in this manner.
Surface Cleaning: Sanitizing of all high touch areas will be conducted a minimum of twice daily and hand sanitizing stations will be placed in convenient locations across campus.
Dining: We will offer both indoor & outdoor options for dining. Cafeteria seating will be available, however, to minimize aerosolized particles and promote greater safety for all practitioners, indoor meals will require noble silence. Outdoor seating is available for those that wish to have conversation. For each arrangement we ask that retreatants social distance and practice mindful awareness while eating and not linger in the dining hall during this time.
Physical Distancing in the Temple: Cushions and chairs will be arranged to maintain physical distancing in the temple.
Sick Policy: If a practitioner becomes sick, they will be asked to remain in their room, and if serious, return home. We will also ask them to take an antigen self-test onsite, and if they test positive for COVID-19, they must exit the retreat. Please note that if you are sharing a room or indoor camping, special arrangements will need to be made if a member of the group tests positive