Coronavirus (COVID-19) and SMC

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

• August 13, 2021
• May 26, 2020
• May 11, 2020
• April 19, 2020
• March 18, 2020
• March 13, 2020

August 13, 2021

In light of the surge of the delta variant of COVID 19, we have updated our policy as follows.

We are grateful to again have the opportunity to offer an in-person SMC experience and remain committed to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our guests, presenters, and staff.

The COVID-19 guidelines listed below are effective as of August 13, 2021, and were developed following consultation with an epidemiologist and review of CDC, Colorado, and local guidelines and recommendations. While it remains impossible to eliminate all risk of transmission of COVID-19 at SMC, we are dedicated to mitigating as much risk as is practicable.

We recognize the unfortunate reality that our policies and guidelines will preclude some people from visiting at this time, and appreciate your support and patience as we continue to navigate this complex and unprecedented situation.

We will continue to track the pandemic and will adjust our policies accordingly. Updates will be posted to this page.

Thank you for doing your part to help us stay open. We hope to see you soon.

Vaccination Requirement

  • Due to the increasing rates of the COVID-19 delta variant, the nature of SMC’s facilities, and the fact that people visit SMC from many places, all Registered Guests and Program Presenters (“Registered Guests”) must be fully vaccinated prior to their arrival at SMC. People are considered fully vaccinated two (2) weeks after receiving their second dose in a Pfizer or Modernal 2-dose series, or two (2) weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Registered Guests must provide proof of vaccination on arrival at SMC. You can show your Vaccination Record Card from the CDC or an image of the card, for instance on your phone. We cannot accept other forms of proof, including private apps; self-attestation of vaccination; or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • When registering for a program, Registered Guests must certify that they will be fully vaccinated prior to their scheduled arrival and that they will provide proof of vaccination when they arrive.


  • Except for the exceptions listed below, all Registered Guests and SMC staff are required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces. Masks are not required in assigned lodge rooms or tents.
    • Masks are not required while eating, even indoors. Please wear a mask in the dining tent while waiting in line or serving yourself food.
    • Presenters may choose to remove their masks indoors while teaching. 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing

  • Registered Guests must certify on arrival that they are not experiencing symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19, have not experienced any of those symptoms for at least seven (7) days prior to arrival, and agree to inform SMC if they experience COVID-19 symptoms during their stay. SMC will test anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Any Registered Guest who tests positive for COVID-19 during their stay will need to depart SMC immediately to seek medical attention or recover elsewhere. We recommend that anyone participating in a program either rent a car or come to SMC in their own vehicle. SMC staff will not be able to provide transportation in these circumstances.
  • As current science suggests that there is no reason to test a vaccinated individual who is not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, tests will be reserved for symptomatic individuals.


  • To the best of our ability, we will stagger meal times to limit the exposure of guests in different programs to each other. Please dine only with other members of your program if possible.


  • SMC offers single and shared occupancy lodging options. If you select shared lodging that won’t be occupied by others in your household, or lodging that does not include a private restroom, you will be at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Interaction with SMC Staff & Day Visitors

  • While SMC encourages staff members to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations, we are not in a position to mandate vaccinations for staff at this time. Although we are not aware of anyone on the SMC staff contracting COVID-19, it is possible that interaction with unvaccinated SMC staff could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • SMC may be open to day visitors while programs are in session. SMC is unable to verify the vaccination status of day visitors.

April 22, 2021

We are pleased to share our COVID-19 POLICY for Summer 2021. It will be updated as regulations and conditions change. Please check the policy for updates before visiting SMC.

May 26, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Our thoughts are with you, and particularly with the return of spring, there is a deep sense of longing to welcome you back to our mountain valley.

SMC has been closed to guests since mid-March when we made the difficult but necessary decision to close the land until May 10th. Since then, we have extended the closure twice, once until the end of May and then through to the end of June. With the continued challenges of ensuring the safety of our guests and staff, we have now made the difficult decision to close programs through the year. There may be a few exceptions where safety procedures can be properly implemented.

The effect of this decision mirrors the challenges so many are facing. We recognize that visits to the land and Stupa are important sources of restoration and inspiration for many, and as an institution, we face enormous financial challenges in weathering the loss of income and in securing our ability to re-open when the time comes.

We are working hard to create ways for people to visit safely, including new models for bringing people to the land. Two significant initiatives we are exploring are establishing a way for people to engage in middle to long-term solitary retreats, and establishing a way for others to join the community as residents. We are also working on how we can maintain the safety of the community and guests while allowing visits to the Stupa. We will be sending out a survey to gauge interest in the solitary retreat and residential model in the coming days.

For those who cannot visit, or who simply wish to engage with our teachers, we have launched our online offerings. Learn more about our online programs here.

At the same time, we are working on fulfilling long-held aspirations to be of greater benefit to our local and regional community. Some promising developments include:

    • Working with donors to fund work in our garden and greenhouse, with produce to be donated to local food banks.
    • Working with Larimer County to establish SMC as a base from which fire-fighters and emergency-response teams can operate, and as an evacuation center during natural disasters.
    • Exploring ways to support front line and other workers in both nonprofit and civic groups by providing a safe refuge for rest, recuperation and revitalization.

As our plans develop, we will share further details. We miss you all: the murmur of voices on a still summer evening, shared moments on hikes, the breathtaking moment when a herd of deer wander by a silent gathering, the joyful energy of shared meals and the overarching sense of the land opening up and reflecting back our minds and intentions. We hope to support your journey through these difficult times, and look forward to welcoming you back to the land.
With love from the mountains,

Michael Gayner
Executive Director
Shambhala Mountain Center


May 11, 2020

Our number one priority continues to be ensuring the health and safety of our residential community, guests, and teachers. Based on Colorado’s current executive and public health orders, as well as the nature of in-person group retreats, we are extending our current closure through the end of June, and are cancelling, rescheduling, or moving online all of our June programs. If you were registered for a June program, you will have received a notification from us with details regarding the cancellation. For updates about online programs, please visit our Online Programs page.

With so much that is uncertain, we continue to monitor the unfolding situation with the pandemic and are preparing for different possible scenarios, including a longer closure. We are exploring how and when we might safely open SMC to either individual retreats or groups using sound quarantine procedures and physical distancing, and will provide updates as these possibilities become clearer.

We will be making decisions about programs for the rest of the summer and fall on a month-by-month basis, based on the best advice and guidelines from the CDC and the State of Colorado as the global situation evolves. We will make every effort to notify participants of a cancelled program at least four weeks in advance.


With love from the mountains,

The SMC Team


April 19, 2020

As some of you may know, SMC made the decision in March to close the land to all visitors for two months, following recommendations from the CDC and the State of Colorado. We are now extending that closure through the end of May, and are cancelling, rescheduling or moving online all of our May programs. We continue to monitor the unfolding situation with the pandemic and are preparing for the possibility of a longer closure.

We are so grateful to our major donors, our ongoing monthly donors, and all those who have supported SMC during this time of the pandemic. Through your kind words of support, generous donations, or choice to accept credit when programs are cancelled, you have provided SMC with the time to thoughtfully map out our survival strategy.

The scenarios we’re looking at include closure for the summer and the entire year. We’re also carefully considering the social and economic conditions of the world into which we will emerge and how SMC can best serve that world.

We’ve drastically cut back on expenses, have accessed the Paycheck Protection Program available in the United States, and we’re in discussions with our bank in regards to SMC’s loan.

We are also developing online offerings, planning for future programs, and looking at how we can host individuals or specific groups while maintaining the safety of our land and staff. This could include carefully structured visits to the Stupa.

While all of the elements needed to survive the pandemic are not yet clear, we are steadily putting in place the necessary steps and will continue to inform you as the situation develops.

While we are unable to gather together in person, I can feel the support of an entire community and look forward to welcoming you home to our land.


With love from the mountain,

Michael Gayner


March 18, 2020

Due to the newest recommendation from the CDC and the State of Colorado, SMC is canceling all programs through May 10th, and closing the land to all visitors. We are in the process of rescheduling most of these programs and contacting currently registered participants. If you are registered during that time frame you should receive a communication shortly.

The Great Stupa is also closed to visitors during this time.

We are prepared to run all programs currently scheduled after May 10th, but will make adjustments if new recommendations are made by the CDC or WHO.

The staff community living on the land at SMC are sheltering in place to protect the vulnerable members of our community.

We look forward to reopening and hosting you once it’s safe to do so. We hope you and your loved ones are well in this time of uncertainty and difficulty.


With love from the mountains,

The SMC Team


March 13, 2020

Like so many around the world, Shambhala Mountain Center is closely monitoring the evolving situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are deeply committed to the safety of our guests, teachers, and staff, and we are taking proactive measures both to protect the health of our guests and to do our part to help minimize the spread and impacts of the pandemic.

Currently, to our knowledge no SMC staff member or guest has experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or been exposed to the virus. We will update you if this changes. We will also continue to communicate about the health and government protocols we are following and actions we are taking to ensure your safety. We invite your help and understanding as we all work together to meet this crisis.

Virus Prevention at SMC

What You Can Do

  • If you’re not well: have any signs of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing; or have recently traveled to countries listed here, we ask that you stay home to safeguard your health and the health of others.
  • Prior to and during your stay at SMC, adopt good practices such as:
    • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when coughing or sneezing;
    • Frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water;
    • Apply sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to your hands when soap and water are unavailable;
    • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
    • Avoid handshakes and other physical contact.
    • During your stay at SMC, let your program coordinator or other SMC staff member know if you experience any signs of illness.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

We understand that you may have concerns about attending an SMC program at this time. In order to promote a safe environment and support the wellbeing of all, we are relaxing our cancellation and refund policy.

If you cancel your registration based on illness, travel restriction, or concerns around coronavirus, we will refund any payment that you’ve made. In lieu of receiving a refund, you can continue to support SMC’s mission during these uncertain and challenging financial times by applying your payment or a portion of it to a future program or by donating to SMC. If you would like to donate all or part of your payment, we will gratefully provide a letter for tax purposes. Similarly, if your program is cancelled you will receive a full refund.

You can cancel your registration by emailing Thank you for your patience as we adapt to meet the needs of our guests and community.


We will update you as soon as we can if conditions change, if we learn that anyone at SMC has contracted or been exposed to COVID-19, or if your program is cancelled. If your program is cancelled while in progress, we will work with you to meet your needs. As always, travel to and from SMC is an individual responsibility.


With care from the mountain,

The Shambhala Mountain Center Team